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China’s Biggest Banks Prepare for Hard Times

  • Top banks report quarterly profit growth between 3% and 6%
  • Chinese economy expanded at slowest pace since early 1990s
A man sits on a ledge in front of the Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. branch in Guangzhou.

A man sits on a ledge in front of the Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. branch in Guangzhou.

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Updated on

China’s largest banks eked out higher profits but signaled tougher times ahead, shedding bad loans and boosting provisions as the economy shows signs of deterioration.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., Bank of China Ltd. and China Construction Bank Corp. reported declines in their nonperforming loan ratios in the third quarter while strengthening buffers against souring debts.