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Singapore's 3 largest banks post higher YOY annual profits

Singapore's three biggest banks by total assets reported improved net profits for the full year ended Dec. 31, 2017, against the year-ago period.

Aggregate net income for the lenders improved by 10.17% to S$11.91 billion. This came even as asset quality continued to drag on aggregate profitability, with combined asset write-downs growing by 19.55% year over year to S$3.29 billion.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ltd., or OCBC, led the pack in annual net profit growth with a rise of 19.37% to S$4.15 billion year over year. The bank also reported the highest return on average equity of 10.85%, or a rise of 134 basis points from the prior-year period. OCBC also posted the lowest asset write-downs of S$671 million, or a year-over-year drop of 7.56%.

DBS Group Holdings Ltd., Singapore's largest bank by assets, reported a 3.14% year-over-year increase in 2017 full-year net profit to S$4.37 billion, with its fourth-quarter net profit growing 33% against the prior-year quarter. The lender's return on average equity of 9.27% for the full year was 40 basis points down from the year-ago period. It also posted asset write-downs of S$1.89 billion, or a year-over-year rise of 32.08%.

United Overseas Bank Ltd., or UOB, posted a 9.49% year-over-year growth in net profit of S$3.39 billion. It maintained a return on average equity of 9.8% for the second year running. The lender's asset write-downs rose 22.44% year over year to S$727 million.

In terms of nonperforming loans, OCBC and DBS saw their NPL ratios climb year over year by 17 basis points and 23 basis points, respectively, to 1.44% and 1.68%. UOB's NPL ratio rose year over year by 31 basis points to 1.78%.

As of Feb. 23, US$1 was equivalent to S$1.32.

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