United Overseas Bank (UOB) Ltd.â€™s fourth-quarter profit barely rose as swelling expenses and provisions for bad loans capped gains in income.
Net income gained 0.3 percent to S$788 million ($564 million) for the three months ended Dec. 31 from a year earlier, Singaporeâ€™s third-biggest bank said Tuesday in an exchange statement. That matched the average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
The company set aside more cash for soured debt as a commodity price slump and the economic slowdown in Greater China and Southeast Asia weigh on the profitability of Singaporeâ€™s banks. UOB is the first of the nationâ€™s lenders to report results for 2015, when a rally in domestic interest rates enabled them to charge borrowers more for loans.
â€œFinancial markets will continue to grapple with volatility and uncertainty in 2016, underpinned by ongoing concerns such as the impact of falling oil prices and Chinaâ€™s slowdown on the global economy,â€ Chief Executive Officer Wee Ee Cheong said in the statement. â€œOur view is that the risks are largely manageable and the underlying economic fundamentals are strong enough to withstand the shocks even as we enter an environment of slower growth.â€
UOB shares fell 1.3 percent to S$17.62 as of 12:39 p.m. in Singapore. The stock has dropped 10 percent this year.