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Insights from UOB’s First Quarter Performance

On Wednesdays, Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (UOB) reported a decrease in profits report during the first quarter net profit grappling with pressure on net interest margins while upholding its income growth projection for 2024.

CEO Wee Ee Cheong emphasized the resilience of Southeast Asia in the face of geopolitical tensions, observing ongoing shifts in global supply chains and sustained tourism.

As Southeast Asia’s third-largest bank by assets, UOB reiterated its outlook for low single-digit loan growth and double-digit fee growth.

UOB’s resilience in the face of challenges underscores its strategic outlook for sustained growth in 2024.

The bank aims to sustain the core cost-to-income ratio at approximately 41-42% and credit costs at 25- 30 basis points for the year.

Singapore’s stability has attracted substantial wealth inflows from Asia, Europe, and the Americas, as evidenced by UOB’s 11% rise in assets under management to SG$179 billion ($132.04 billion) in the first quarter.

UOB’s peer, DBS Group, reported a 15% surge in first-quarter net profit, surpassing expectations and projecting a record net profit for 2024. Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp is scheduled to announce its results on May 10.

In the first quarter, UOB’s net profit declined to SG$1.49 billion from SG$1.51 billion a year earlier due to reduced net interest income, outstripping analysts’ forecasts of SG$1.43 billion.

Net interest margins fell to 2.02% from 2.14% year-on-year, while return on equity dropped to 14.0% from 14.9%.

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