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China Banks Set for Year of Better Profitability, Citigroup Says

Chinese banks are set for a year of “better profitability and less capital intensity” as higher net interest margins offset slower loan growth and increased reserve requirements, according to Citigroup Inc.

The brokerage raised its rating for Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. to “buy” from “hold” and increased its share-price estimate to HK$5 from HK$4.40, according to a report by analysts including Simon Ho. They lowered Bank of China Ltd. to “hold” from “buy” and reduced the stock’s price forecast to HK$4.50 from HK$5.08.

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