UPDATE 1-China Construction Bank Q4 profit beats view, warns of virus impact risks

(Adds details of results, comments of chairman on coronavirus)

BEIJING/SHANGHAI, March 29 (Reuters) - China Construction Bank Corp (CCB) posted on Sunday a better than expected 2.1% rise in fourth-quarter net profit, with its soured loans ratio holding steady.

China’s second-biggest lender by assets after Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC), like the country’s other big banks, warned of the challenges that the impact of the coronavirus epidemic has brought.

“The epidemic brings new risks and challenges to the banking sector,” CCB Chairman Tian Guoli said in a statement. The bank also said it will pay close attention to risks relating to the recent turmoil of global financial markets.

CCB saw profit rise to 41.39 billion yuan ($5.83 billion) in the October to December period, according to a Reuters calculation based on the company’s annual figures.

That compares with 40.55 billion yuan a year earlier, and a 39.6 billion yuan average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Refinitiv SmartEstimate. SmartEstimates give more weight to recent estimates by analysts who are more consistently accurate.

CCB’s results follow the pattern set by the results last week of three of China’s largest state banks.

ICBC, Bank of Communications Co Ltd and the Bank of China Ltd , all reported forecast-beating fourth-quarter results as soured debt ratios held steady.

CCB’s non-performing loan (NPL) ratio edged down to 1.42% at the end of December from 1.43% at end-September.

Its net interest margin, a key measure of profitability, fell slightly to 2.26% at end-December, from 2.27% at end-September. ($1 = 7.0942 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Cheng Leng, Zhang Yan and Engen Tham; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Muralikumar Anantharaman)