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SBI Posts Third Straight Quarterly Loss, Bad Loan Ratio Improves

Indian banks have been plagued by record levels of non-performing loans over recent years, and held Rs 10.36 trillion in soured assets at the end of March, with state-run banks including SBI accounting for more than 86 per cent of the pile

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The State Bank of India (SBI) reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss on Friday, as country's biggest lender by assets made higher provisions for treasury losses although its improved bad loan ratio sent its shares higher.

SBI's third consecutive quarterly net loss came in at Rs 48.76 billion ($707.28 million) for the three months to June 30, compared with a profit of Rs 20.06 billion a year ago, and a record loss of Rs 77.18 billion in the March quarter.

The latest loss was much larger than analysts' estimates of a loss of Rs 1.71 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

SBI, which accounts for more than a fifth of India's banking assets, recognized net mark to market losses on investments of Rs 58.93 billion in the June quarter, instead of availing a central bank option to spread the losses over four quarters.

But its gross bad loans as a percentage of total loans slipped to 10.69 per cent from 10.91 per cent in the previous quarter. That was, however, still above 9.97 percent posted a year ago.

Its bad-loan provisions for the quarter rose 7.5 per cent to Rs 130.38 billion, but fell more than 45 per cent from the March quarter.

Indian banks have been plagued by record levels of non-performing loans over recent years, and held Rs 10.36 trillion in soured assets at the end of March, with state-run banks including SBI accounting for more than 86 per cent of the pile.

Last month, more than 20 Indian lenders signed a pact aimed at faster resolution of bad loans.

SBI shares reversed early losses to rally as much as 2.8 per cent to the highest in six months following the results. They have since fallen, trading down 1.7 per cent at 0918 GMT.

(Reuters)


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