(Adds earnings details)
* Net profit S$969 vs S$948 mln analysts' fcasts
* Net interest income up 13 pct to S$1.557 bln
* Investors nervous about China exposure
SINGAPORE, Aug 1 DBS Group Holdings, Singapore's biggest bank, on Friday said second-quarter net profit climbed 9 percent, beating expectations with the help of 10 percent growth in loans.
The result meant Southeast Asia's biggest lender, which earns most of its profit from Singapore and Hong Kong, achieved a record first-half net profit of S$2.2 billion ($1.76 billion).
Unlike rival United Overseas Bank, which doubled its bad debt charges in the second quarter, DBS saw a 48 percent decline in similar charges.
DBS said net profit came to S$969 million for April-to-June period, up from S$887 million in the same period a year earlier and above an average forecast of S$948 million from seven analysts polled by Reuters.
DBS' shares have underperformed its rival United Overseas Bank this year due to concerns over its exposure to China's slowing economy and the debt overhang from Beijing's massive 2008 stimulus.
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp also has been hit since it bought Hong Kong lender Wing Hang, which will significantly increase its China exposure. OCBC shares have been the worst performer among banks on the Singapore Exchange,
DBS's quarterly net interest income - the gap between what a bank makes from loans and pays on deposits - jumped 13 percent to S$1.557 billion. Customer loans grew at 10 percent year-on-year.
The result came a day after smaller rival UOB reported a 3.2 percent rise in quarterly profit, beating market estimates but doubled its bad debt charges in the second quarter.
Analysts expect a moderation in loan growth in the months ahead due to a slowdown in Singapore's housing market after a series of government measures to cool the property market.
Moody's Investors Service said earlier this month its outlook for Singapore banks was negative over the next 12 to 18 months due to an expected rise in problem loans. ($1 = 1.2473 Singapore Dollars) (Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Stephen Coates)