UPDATE 1-Profit sags at Lebanon's Byblos Bank

Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:02pm EST

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(Adds provisions for credit losses, background)

BEIRUT Jan 29 (Reuters) - Lebanon's Byblos Bank reported a 6 percent drop in net profit last year to $157.1 million, reflecting the economic stagnation in a country marred by political paralysis and feeling the effects of a civil war in neighbouring Syria.

It said total assets stood at $18.5 billion, customer deposits increased by 10.2 percent to $14.7 billion and net customer loans rose by 9.5 percent to $4.5 billion.

The bank said in a statement on Wednesday that it had allocated $57.3 million in provisions for credit losses, which also accounted for some of the drop in net profit.

"Despite uncertainty on the political level and an ongoing stagnation of the economy, Byblos Bank witnessed growth in key financial areas," the statement said.

Violence in neighbouring Syria has spilled over into Lebanon and contributed to a sharp slowdown in economic growth over the last two years.

The small Mediterranean country has also been without a fully functioning government since March 2013 when Prime Minister Najib Mikati resigned, and months of political bickering have hampered economic growth. (Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Greg Mahlich and Louise Heavens)

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