(Adds detail, quote)
KIEV, Feb 21 (Reuters) - The Ukrainian banking sector posted a loss of 24.4 billion hryvnias ($904 million) in 2017, an 85 percent smaller loss than a year earlier, the central bank said on Wednesday.
The sector has been posting annual losses since 2014 due to a large proportion of non-performing loans and the consequent need to boost reserves.
“Due to significant volumes of provisions for reserves, the banking sector completed the year with a loss of 24.4 billion hryvnias — mainly this was accounted for by the four largest banks, including Privatbank,” the central bank said in a report on banking sector performance in 2017.
Last year, non-performing loans accounted for 54.5 percent of the sector’s debt portfolio.
The number of loss-making Ukrainian banks will fall in 2018 to fewer than 10 compared with 18 in 2017, senior central bank official Vitaliy Vavryshchuk said.
Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Catherine Evans