OCBC Q4 profit jumps 34% to $1.24b, beating estimates

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) – Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp beat market estimates with a 34 per cent rise in quarterly profit on Friday, helped by an improvement in its net interest margin.

Net profit for Singapore’s second-biggest listed lender came in at $1.24 billion versus $926 million a year earlier, and compared with the $1.13 billion average estimate of five analysts, according to data from Refinitiv.

“Looking ahead, the global economic outlook is expected to be weaker than originally expected,” OCBC CEO Samuel Tsien said in a statement.

The banks said the mprovement in credit quality in 2020 from prudent portfolio actions last year could be partly absorbed by Covid-19 related credit costs.

Loan growth in 2020 is expected to be low and the bank will be watchful of the impact to business from continuing trade tensions, geo-political risks and the widening virus outbreak.

Singapore, one of the countries outside China hit hardest by the virus, has already cut its economic growth outlook this year and flagged the possibility of entering a recession.

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