OCBC's Q4 profit falls 10%, cautions on economic growth

OCBC's Q4 profit falls 10%, cautions on economic growth

Singapore's three lenders all felt the impact of financial market uncertainties and US-China trade tensions in the fourth quarter. In particular, UOB and OCBC missed analysts' forecasts. Brandon Tanoto reports. 

SINGAPORE: Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) warned of slower economic growth after Singapore's second-biggest listed lender missed market estimates with a 10 per cent drop in quarterly profit, due to a weak performance in its insurance business.

Singapore banks are gearing up for tougher times after three years of strong loans growth as the city-state's export-reliant economy slows, partly due to a trade war between China and the United States.

"Looking ahead, global economic growth is expected to slow on concerns of continued trade and geopolitical tensions, subdued market and investment sentiments and rising policy risks in the advanced economies," OCBC CEO Samuel Tsien said in a statement on Friday (Feb 22).

OCBC's October to December net profit came in at S$926 million, versus S$1.03 billion a year earlier and compared with the S$1.17 billion average estimate of four analysts, according to data from Refinitiv.

The results came days after top lender DBS Group posted an 8 per cent rise in quarterly profit, in line with market expectations.

On Friday, United Overseas Bank, the smallest listed lender in the city-state, reported a 7 per cent increase in quarterly profit to S$916 million. 

Source: Reuters/cy