Top Chinese brokerage CITIC Securities' H1 profit rises 13 pct

SHANGHAI, Aug 23 (Reuters) - CITIC Securities Co Ltd , China’s biggest brokerage, said on Thursday first-half net profit rose 13 percent, led by steady growth in its securities investment and asset management businesses.

Net profit for the six months to June rose to 5.57 billion yuan ($810.3 million) from 4.93 billion yuan a year earlier. That largely matched preliminary results released in July.

Brokers in China have been struggling after a stock market boom came to a turbulent end in 2015. Depressed trading on the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets has prompted some brokerages to compete in cutting commissions, and staff benefits have been scaled back to keep costs in check.

The benchmark Shanghai index has dropped nearly 18 percent so far this year with mounting U.S.-China trade tensions weighing on investor sentiment.

But CITIC’s strong service culture has allowed it to maintain its market share of brokerage services, despite tough price competition, analysts said.

In the first half of 2018, China’s securities firms booked a total net profit of 32.9 billion yuan, down 40.5 percent from 55.3 billion yuan a year ago, the Securities Association of China has said.

Of 131 firms included in the data, 106 were profitable, the association said. That compares with 91 percent a year earlier.

CITIC’s net profit rose 10.3 percent in 2017, it reported in March.

$1 = 6.8740 Chinese yuan Reporting by Engen Tham in Shanghai and Shu Zhang in Beijing; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Sai Sachin Ravikumar