DUBAI: Qatar National Bank, the Gulf’s biggest bank by assets, yesterday reported a drop in annual profit of more than 16 per cent, hit by $1.6 billion in impairments during a year when the region’s economy was affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Gulf banks have faced a slowdown in business and a rise in loan impairments as Covid-19 hit the region. The outlook for 2021 is uncertain due to the protracted nature of the economic recovery.
QNB reported a net profit of 12bn Qatari riyals ($3.3bn) in 2020, it said in a statement, down from 14.4bn riyals in 2019.
The profit was slightly above the mean forecast of 11.7bn riyals by seven analysts, based on Refinitiv data.
“Considering the long-term financial impacts of Covid-19, QNB Group decided to set aside an additional 5.8bn (riyals) in respect of loan loss provisions as a precautionary measure, which affected the net profit for the year,” the bank said. In 2019, impairments were about 3.2bn riyals.
Despite the pandemic, QNB said its total assets increased to a record one trillion riyals, driven by a 7pc rise in loans and advances.