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Standard Bank Net Interest Income Climbs as Bad Debts Rise

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May 30 (Bloomberg) -- Standard Bank Group Ltd., Africa’s largest lender, said net interest income increased in the first four months of this year even as bad debts rose.

“Despite credit impairments increasing, net interest income after impairments represents pleasing growth over 2012,” the Johannesburg-based lender said in a trading update today without giving further details. “Fees and commissions and trading income have recorded positive growth. Costs continue to be affected” by rand weakness, it said.

South African banks, including Nedbank Group Ltd. and African Bank Investments Ltd., have also said bad debts are rising this year. Economic growth slowed to an annualized 0.9 percent in the first quarter from 2.1 percent in the preceding three months, Statistics South Africa said on May 28. The rand has slumped 15 percent against the dollar this year to the lowest in more than four years.

Standard Bank, the second-worst performing bank stock on the six-member FTSE/JSE Africa Banks Index this year after Absa Group Ltd., gained 1.6 percent to 111.70 rand in Johannesburg trading.

To contact the reporter on this story: Renee Bonorchis in Johannesburg at rbonorchis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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