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FINANCE

China’s Leading Banks Looking Up

By Dong Tongjian, Leng Cheng and Liu Xiao
Bank of China reported 11.5% growth of net profit for the first six months from a year earlier as the country’s biggest banks continued to see improvement to their bottom lines. Above, customers take care of business at a Bank of China branch in the southern city of Foshan in November 2009. Photo: Visual China
Bank of China reported 11.5% growth of net profit for the first six months from a year earlier as the country’s biggest banks continued to see improvement to their bottom lines. Above, customers take care of business at a Bank of China branch in the southern city of Foshan in November 2009. Photo: Visual China

Key profitability and credit metrics at major Chinese banks continued improving in the first half this year as they earned more from lending to businesses, and as fewer loans went sour, while the government continues to clamp down on systemic excesses.

On Wednesday, Bank of China Ltd. (BOC), the country’s fourth-largest bank by assets, reported a strong 11.5% growth of net profit for the first six months compared with the same period a year ago. Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), the third-largest lender, said first-half net profit rose 3.3%, while Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the country’s largest bank, posted a slim 1.8% net-profit increase for the same period.

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