UOB Q4 net profit up 11.1 pct, beats forecast

SINGAPORE Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:35am EST

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SINGAPORE Feb 14 (Reuters) - United Overseas Bank Ltd , the smallest of Singapore's three banks by assets, posted an 11.1 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, beating expectations, as strong loan growth boosted core interest income.

UOB posted S$773 million ($610.42 million) for the three months ended December, compared with the S$686 million average forecast of six analysts polled by Reuters, and a net profit of S$696 million reported a year earlier.

Bigger rivals DBS Group Holdings Ltd and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd also reported increase in their quarterly profit, fuelled by mortgage and trade loans, and were upbeat about growth prospects.

But the city-state's top lenders have projected slower loan growth for 2014 as pace of mortgage loans and trade finance slow.

DBS CEO Piyush Gupta said Singapore property prices could fall 10-15 percent this year, but the bank's stress tests show that it can withstand a price fall of 30 percent. ($1 = 1.2663 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)