KUALA LUMPUR (March 12): Moody's Investors Service says its six rated Malaysian banks showed a solid performance in 2017, with additional improvements likely in some areas in 2018.
In a statement today, a Moody’s vice president and senior analyst Simon Chen said the asset quality and profitability of the six banks generally improved in 2017, while their capitalisation and funding remained adequate.
“We expect loan demand to recover further in 2018, strengthening profitability, but also tightening funding conditions.
"As a result, profit growth among banks with weaker deposit franchises could be limited by higher funding costs," Chen said.
Moody's conclusions are contained in its just-released report, "Banks - Malaysia: 2017 sees asset quality stabilize, profits improve".
Moody’s said the banks covered in the report are: Malayan Banking Bhd (A3/A3 stable, a3); CIMB Group Holdings Berhad (Baa1 stable); Public Bank Bhd (A3 stable, a3); RHB Bank Bhd (A3/A3 stable, baa3); Hong Leong Bank Bhd (A3 stable, baa1); and AmBank (M) Bhd (Baa1/Baa1 stable, baa3).
Moody's noted asset quality will benefit from stronger macroeconomic conditions in 2018, both domestically and regionally, while those banks with exposure to the oil and gas sector should see their asset quality stabilise on stronger oil prices.
The rating agency said the impaired loan ratios of most banks remained stable in 2017, despite the fact that banks with sizable operations in other parts of Southeast Asia recorded higher gross impaired loan ratios because of asset quality issues among commodity related corporate borrowers.
Moody’s said most banks posted improved profitability in 2017, driven by steady revenue growth, stable net interest margins and a moderation in credit costs.
Furthermore, it said these favourable conditions should continue into 2018, and ongoing digital transformation efforts will support stronger growth in revenue and cost efficiencies.
It said loan growth will also rebound in 2018, supported by higher demand for corporate loans and stable consumer lending, and this development — plus stable net interest margins — will support bank profits.
Moody’s said overall credit costs will increase slightly from 2017, driven mainly by higher credit charges required under the Malaysian Financial Reporting Standards 9 (MFRS 9) effective Jan 1, 2018.
It said capital ratios increased in 2017 from muted growth in risk-weighted assets (RWA), dividend reinvestment plans, and RWA optimisation initiatives by some banks.
“While the banks will generally be able to support their balance sheet growth through steady retained earnings in 2018, some have estimated that MFRS9 implementation will result in a 20-80 basis point drop of Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratios.
“Funding profiles remain resilient, as loan to deposit ratios fell slightly for most banks in 2017, because of sluggish loan growth, but are likely to rise in 2018 when loan growth recovers,” Moody’s said.
Source : http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/malaysian-banks-showed-solid-performance-2017-continue-2018-says-moodys