Earnings results from China's big banks over the past week show profit growth slowed in the third quarter, with analysts highlighting rising bad loans as one of the biggest challenges to the sector in the months ahead.
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world's most profitable bank and China's largest, on Wednesday said that its net profit rose 7.6 percent to 67.2 billion yuan ($11.03 billion) in the third quarter, below estimates.
Evidence of a rise in non-performing loans (NPL) among some of the big banks was something to watch for, analysts said.
They added that for the banking sector as a whole the non-performing loan (NPL) ratio has been stable at about 1 percent and some have forecast it higher given the credit boom in recent years.
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ICBC said that its NPL ratio rose to 0.91 percent from 0.87 percent at the end of the first half of the year. Bank of China, the country's fourth biggest lender, also saw its NPL ratio rise to 0.96 percent in the third quarter from 0.93 percent at the end of June.