Standard Bank Peer-Beating Gains Seen Delayed on Commodity Slump

Standard Bank Group Ltd., the top-rated lender at Avior Capital Markets, may have its prospects for peer-beating profit growth constrained for the next 18 months to two years by the slump in commodity prices, the Johannesburg-based brokerage said.
While the group “is best positioned for double-digit revenue and earnings growth over the next three years” compared to its competitors, that boon will be delayed by the “downward trend in commodity prices,” Harry Botha, banks analyst at Avior, said in a note to clients this week. Growth rates will only improve in the next 18 to 24 months, he said. Botha rates the stock outperform, the highest among the four largest South African lenders.

The Bloomberg Commodity Index of 22 raw materials slumped to a 16-year low on Aug. 25 amid concern that a slowdown in growth in the world’s second-largest economy is worse than anticipated. Mining clients are important to banks in South Africa, which has the world’s biggest reserves of platinum and manganese.

“Although growth benefits appear to be delayed, we highlight that Standard Bank still has significant opportunities to improve its personal and business banking revenue growth and cost-efficiency prospects as new core banking systems are implemented and banking shifts more toward digital platforms,” said Botha.

Standard Bank declined to comment.

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