UAE banks post solid Q2 profits supported by higher interest income
Profitability at the four largest UAE banks will remain solid in the next 12 to 18 months underpinned by solid interest income, despite pressure on fee and commission income, says Moody’s Investors Service in a new report.
The four banks, First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC (FAB, Aa3/Aa3 Stable, a3), Emirates NBD PJSC (ENBD, A3/A3 Stable, ba1), Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB, A1/A1 Stable, baa3) and Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB, A3/A3 Stable, ba2), reported a combined net profit of AED6.7 billion ($1.8 bln) in Q2 2017 supported by higher net interest income.
Aggregate net profitability was broadly flat versus Q2 2016, but fell 3.5% quarter on quarter also partially driven by a decline in fee and commission income.
“Profitability was supported by higher yields on loans and stable funding costs, which drove higher net interest income, despite sluggish economic growth due to current oil prices,” said Nitish Bhojnagarwala, a Vice President at Moody’s.
Operating expenses across the four banks were down by 6% relative both to the previous quarter and to Q2 2016. Over the next 12 to 18 months, we expect broadly stable cost to income ratios as the banks continue to invest in technology offsetting cost-cutting gains.
“However, provisioning charges showed a mixed trend with ENBD and FAB showing an improving trend, while ADCB and DIB posted weakening trends. We expect a modest rise in provisioning charges in the coming quarters, driven by the sluggish economic growth,” added Nitish.
Combined deposits at the four banks declined marginally by 1% to AED 1 trillion (around $273 bln) compared to Q1 2017. This slight drop was after solid deposit growth in previous quarters for the UAE banking system, which suggest that liquidity pressure has been easing. Nevertheless, the oil price levels will continue to weigh on deposit growth for the next few quarters.
The banks’ combined Tier 1 capital ratio improved modestly to 16.7% from 16.2% relative to the previous quarter.