UOB Q1 profit drops 10% to $906 million

UOB's net interest income rose 10 per cent year on year to $1.69 billion. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - UOB saw a 10 per cent year-on-year fall in net profit for the first quarter of the year as its non-interest income was hit by volatile and weaker markets.

Earnings for the three months to end-March came in at $906 million, which was down 11 per cent from the previous quarter and below the $1.037 billion forecast of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Net interest income rose 10 per cent year on year to $1.69 billion as customer loans grew 9 per cent to $320 billion.

But net fee and commission income fell 8 per cent to $572 million due largely to lower wealth management and fund management with the market outlook more subdued, the bank said.

Other non-interest income fell 70 per cent to $101 million from impact on hedges, resulting in lower non-customer-related trading and investment income.

Loan-related fees, however, grew to a new high of $194 million.

UOB said its customer franchise and asset quality remains resilient, and non-performing loan ratio remains at 1.6 per cent, up 0.1 percentage point year on year.

UOB deputy chairman and chief executive Wee Ee Cheong said in a statement: "Geopolitical tensions and uncertainties on the global growth outlook have led to market volatilities. Despite that, our core business held up well, with quality loans growth, record loan-related fees and better margins."

He added that the bank remains optimistic of the recovery of the region and the longer-term potential of South-east Asia.

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