China Construction Bank H1 profit up 3.36%

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China Construction Bank Corp (CCB), the first of the country’s Big Five lenders to report half-year results this week, posted a 3.36% rise in first-half net profit on Wednesday. China’s second-biggest lender by assets saw profits rise to 167.34 billion yuan ($22.95 billion), a filing by the bank showed.

Chinese lenders are under pressure from Beijing to provide national services to boost the faltering economy, squeezing their profits.

The bank’s net interest margin – a key gauge of profitability – stood at 1.79% at end-June, down from 1.83% at the end of March.

“China is in a critical period of economic recovery and industrial upgrading, domestic demand is still insufficient, and the foundation for economic recovery still needs to be consolidated,” CCB said in the filing.

The bank said it will continue to fulfill the responsibilities of a major state bank and provide strong financial support for the real economy for the rest of this year.

CCB’s non-performing loan ratio stood at 1.37% at the end of the second quarter, down from 1.38% at the end of March, the filing showed.

($1 = 7.2901 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Ziyi Tang and Engen Tham; editing by Jason Neely)