China's ICBC posts slower annual profit growth

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Associated Press

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 6:02 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 27 at 6:02 AM

HONG KONG (AP) — ICBC, China's biggest state-owned commercial lender, posted slower profit growth last year as the economy slowed and the government reformed interest rates.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. said Wednesday it earned 238.7 billion yuan ($38.4 billion) in 2012. That's 14.5 percent higher compared with the year before, but the slowest rate since the bank went public in 2006.

Net interest income rose 15 percent to 417.8 billion yuan.

Profitability has been hit by a painful slowdown in China's economy, the world's second biggest.

Growth has also been hurt by the rate reforms. Chinese banks have been used to fat margins between lending and deposit rates but the government has been narrowing the difference.

ICBC's profit slowdowns mirrors those at China's other three big state-owned lenders.

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