The red-hot profit growth enjoyed by Chinese banks in recent years will slow sharply in the first quarter of 2012, industry experts tell CNBC. But, they add, mainland lenders remain an attractive investment opportunity given their cheap valuations.
“We expect earnings growth for the whole sector to decrease to 17 percent year on year from 38 percent in the first quarter 2011,” Simon Ho, Head of Asian Financial Research at Citigroup told CNBC.
“It’s not really a worry, it’s in line with expectations – we expect to see 15 percent growth for the overall sector for full-year 2012,” Ho added. Hong Kong-listed Chinese banks have averaged 30 percent earnings growth per year since 2005.
Jiang Jianqing, Chairman of the country’s biggest lender Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), which is due to report earnings on Friday, says a slowdown in profit growth will be a trend for the sector.
“Just as it impossible for China’s economy to continue a growth rate of over 9 percent for the next 30 years, Chinese banks will witness their profit growth gradually coming down to a reasonable level starting from this year,” Jiang told CNBC’s “ Managing Asia ”.Page 1 of 4 | Next Page