China Construction Bank first-quarter net profit rises 5.4 percent

FILE PHOTO - Logos of China Construction Bank are seen at a branch in Beijing, China, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China Construction Bank Corp (CCB) 0939.HK601939.SS, the country's second-biggest lender by assets, on Thursday reported 5.4 percent profit growth for the first quarter.

CCB, the first of China’s big four state-owned lenders to report first-quarter earnings, saw its profit reach 73.82 billion yuan ($11.67 billion) in the three months through March, up from 70 billion yuan a year earlier.

The result was under the average estimate of a 6.4 percent rise from three analysts polled by Reuters.

CCB’s non-performing loan (NPL) ratio remained flat at 1.49 percent at the end of March from the end of the previous quarter.

The volume of NPLs increased by 4.06 billion yuan over the three-month period to 196.4 billion yuan from 192.3 billion yuan at the end of December.

The bank’s net interest margin - the difference between interest paid and earned - was 2.35 percent at the end of March, up from 2.21 percent at the end of December.

($1 = 6.3230 Chinese yuan/renminbi)

Reporting by Engen Tham in Shanghai and Shu Zhang in Beijing; Editing by Dale Hudson