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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        22  April 2011

Thai banks post first quarter gains

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Higher fee-based income and healthy loan growth helped push Thai bank net profits up by 48 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, according to data reported to the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

This despite net interest margins generally declining as a result of moves by the Bank of Thailand to tighten monetary policy. The central bank has raised interest rates three times this year, including a quarter-point hike on Wednesday to push the one-day repurchase rate to 2.75 percent.

Overall, Thai commercial banks reported first-quarter net profits of 38.5 billion baht, an increase of 12.5 billion from the same period last year.

Siam Commercial Bank, the country's fourth-largest in terms of assets, led all banks with first-quarter profits of 13.05 billion baht, an increase of 104.7 percent from the year before, thanks in part to the consolidation of the insurer Siam Commercial New York Life on its books under new accounting rules.

Krung Thai Bank, the country's second-largest bank, reported first-quarter profits of 5.49 billion baht, up 78.54 percent year-on-year thanks to gains in both interest and non-interest income.

The state-controlled bank posted a 27.77 percent year-on-year gain in net interest income to 11.36 billion baht, with the net interest margin up to 2.47 percent for the quarter ending in March from 2.29% the previous quarter. Net fee and service income also rose 16.67 percent year-on-year to 2.75 billion baht.

Thanachart Capital, a holding company of Thanachart Bank, reported net profit of 1.14 billion baht, a decline of 14.82 percent year-on-year, on lower profits at asset management subsidiaries. Bank of Ayudhya, meanwhile, posted net profits of 20.81 billion baht for the quarter, up 35.68 percent from the same period last year. Net interest income rose to 9.19 billion baht for the quarter, compared with 8.47 billion last year, while fee income rose to 5.15 billion baht from 4.7 billion in 2010.

Ausanee Lewrat, an analyst at Asia Plus Securities, said Thai bank results in general exceeded expectations thanks to robust loan expansion and growth in fee and service income.

The increase in market interest rates however has had an impact on bottom-line performance for some banks, as seen in the decline in net interest margins.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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