Japan's top bank MUFG beats profit view, forecasts lower credit costs
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's top lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (MUFG) posted on Monday a better-than-expected 47% rise in full-year net profit, after last year's earnings were hit by an impairment charge on its units in Southeast Asia.
Profit for the year ended in March came in at 777 billion yen ($7.11 billion) compared with 528.2 billion yen a year ago, MUFG said in a statement. That also compared with an average estimate of 708.9 billion yen from eight analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.
MUFG's profit in the three months through March was 170 billion yen, compared to a 56.1 billion yen loss in the same period a year earlier, according to Reuters' calculations based on the bank's statement.
Japanese banks have seen an increase in lending as companies rushed to borrow amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while low interest rates and a shrinking population have eroded their profits. Bank lending in Japan rose 4.8% in April from a year earlier, according the Bank of Japan.
MUFG, which owns about 20% of Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley, booked 515.5 billion yen of credit-related costs in the last financial year, up from an initially expected 500 billion yen.
In the current business year ending in March 2022, the lender expects 850 billion yen in net income compared to the 733 billion yen estimate of eight analysts, and predicts 350 billion yen of credit-related costs.
Smaller rivals Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc and Mizuho Financial Group Inc last week forecast a drop in credit-related costs this year on expectations the economy will recover as vaccination proceeds.
($1 = 109.2200 yen)
(Reporting by Takashi Umekawa; Editing by Louise Heavens and; Muralikumar Anantharaman)
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