By Regan E Doherty
Results posted by Qatar's largest lender by market capitalisation beat analysts' forecasts.
Qatar National Bank (QNB), the Gulf state's largest lender by market capitalisation, posted a 35.4-percent jump in second quarter profit on Tuesday, beating forecasts, as loans and customer deposits grew.
Net profit in the three months to June 30 rose to 1.43 billion riyals, according to Reuters calculations, compared to 1.056 billion riyals ($290m) in the second quarter of 2009.
Analysts had forecast net profit of 1.26 billion, up 19.65 percent from a year ago, according to a Reuters survey.
Qatar National Bank said it had first half profit of 2.7 billion riyals, in a statement to the bourse.
The bank posted net profit of 1.27 billion riyals in the first quarter of 2010, mainly from growth in its Islamic banking business and a surge in lending.
QNB, the second-largest lender in the Gulf by market capitalisation, is the first major regional lender to report earnings and is closely watched for indications of the sector's performance.
Qatar, which expects double digit economic growth this year, has been active in its support for the banking sector.
In March, the Gulf Arab state said it will allow banks to diversify their revenue base and bolster trading income by buying shares of listed companies on the bourse and re-entering brokerage operations.
In June, the central bank issued bonds worth 10 billion riyals to local banks with a coupon of 6.5 percent and an eight year maturity, in a move seen as an attempt to mop up excess liquidity.
QNB is 50 percent owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and has been expanding abroad, with operations in Syria, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Switzerland. (Reuters)