The four largest listed banks in Argentina posted an annual increase of 61.4% in their aggregate fourth-quarter 2018 profit as high borrowing costs buoyed their interest income.
Grupo Financiero Galicia SA, Banco Santander Río SA, BBVA Banco Francés SA and Banco Macro SA posted combined net income of 15.85 billion Argentine pesos in the three-month period, up from 9.82 billion pesos a year earlier, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Their aggregate net interest income surged 51.6%, improving to 35.33 billion pesos from 23.31 billion pesos in the fourth quarter of 2017. The increase came as Argentina's benchmark interest rate remained above 60% — a floor set by the central bank earlier in 2018 — for most of the fourth quarter.
The four banks' net fee and commission income, meanwhile, grew 41.8% year over year to hit 11.98 billion pesos.
Banco Macro booked the highest quarterly profit among the group at 5.24 billion pesos, up roughly 69% from a year earlier. However, BBVA Banco Francés registered the highest percentage increase as it more than doubled its quarterly net income to 2.94 billion pesos.
As of March 20, US$1 was equivalent to 41.02 Argentine pesos.
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