August 30, 2017 / 8:55 AM / a year ago

China's AgBank first-half profit rises 3.3 percent, margins steady

BEIJING (Reuters) - Agricultural Bank of China Ltd (AgBank) (1288.HK)(601288.SS) reported on Wednesday a 3.3 percent rise in first-half net profit as margins steadied.

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a branch of the Agricultural Bank of China in the town of Nansan, Yunnan province, China, March 12, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD SEARCH GLOBAL BUSINESS 28 AUG FOR ALL IMAGES

AgBank said net profit for the first six months of the year totaled 108.6 billion yuan ($16.48 billion), versus 105.1 billion yuan a year ago.

This implies a net profit of 52.9 billion yuan for the second quarter, up 4.8 percent from 50.5 billion yuan a year ago. Four analysts on average had forecast a profit growth of 2 percent for the quarter, according to data compiled by Reuters.

AgBank’s non-performing loan ratio fell to 2.19 percent by end-June, from 2.33 percent at end-March.

Net interest margin, the difference between interest paid and earned by banks and a key gauge of profitability, narrowed slightly to 2.24 percent by end-June, from 2.25 percent at the end of last year.

Reporting By Engen Tham and Matthew Miller; Additional reporting by Shu Zhang; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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