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China's Banks Are Running Out of Ways to Keep Profits Growing

  • Biggest banks expected to post profit drop for full year
  • ICBC’s coverage ratio remains below regulatory threshold
Images Of Cheung Kong Property Holdings Ltd. Developments As Company's Relists After Spun Off From CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.
Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

China’s five largest banks are facing an increasingly daunting balancing act as they try to avoid snapping a streak of rising earnings.

The state-controlled lenders have managed to keep profits increasing every year since 2004, sending a message about the resilience of China’s financial system. Keeping that trend alive is becoming tougher because of rising bad loans and pressure on lending margins.