The aggregate net profit of the Czech banking sector fell by 2.7% y/y to CZK 36.7bn (EUR 1.4bn) in the first half of 2013, according to central bank data. The decrease came as the country’s four largest domestic banks - CSOB, Ceska Sporitelna, Komercni Banka and UniCredit that account for more than two-thirds of the sector’s profit, saw their H1 earnings fall. The banks blamed the record low interest rates for the fall in earnings.
The banks’ net interest income shrank by 5.6% on the year to CZK 52.1bn in January to June 2013 and the net income from fees and commissions dropped by 2.2% y/y to CZK 18.2bn. Impairments jumped 30.6% y/y to CZK 8.1bn.
The sector’s capital adequacy improved to 17.14% as of end-June 2013 from 16.32% a year ago.
There were 45 banks operating on the Czech market at end-June 2013. Of them, 37 are foreign-owned.
IntelliNews comment: Czech banks have seen their profits fall as the central bank cut its benchmark rate to almost zero in November 2012 in an attempt to boost consumer spending and help the economy that has just emerged from a record-long recession that lasted six quarters. The low interest rates coupled with intense competition between banks for borrowers and depositors squeezed interest rate margins. The sector’s profitability may further weaken next year as the main centre-left party Social Democrats (CSSD), likely to win Oct early elections, has pledged to raise taxes for utilities and banks once it comes to power to bolster state revenue.
|Banking sector performance in H1 2013|
|CZK bn||H1 2013||H1 2012||y/y change|
|Net interest income||52.1||55.2||-5.6|
|Net fees & commissions||18.2||18.6||-2.2|
|Capital adequacy ratio in %||17.14||16.32||0.8|
|Source: Czech central bank|
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