DUBAI, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia's second-largest lender by assets, reported a 16.7 percent rise in its third-quarter net profit on Monday, meeting analysts' forecasts.
The bank made 2.01 billion riyals ($536.1 million) in the three months to Sept. 30, up from 1.72 billion riyals in the same period a year earlier, it said in a bourse statement.
Six analysts surveyed by Reuters had on average forecast the bank's quarterly profit would be 2.06 billion riyals.
Al Rajhi is the first major lender in the kingdom to report higher profits for the three months to Sept. 30, building on a run of rising profit growth in the previous four quarters, at a time when other Saudi banks have struggled against a challenging economic backdrop.
It attributed the positive performance in the latest quarter to a 16.8 percent rise in net special commission income to 2.91 billion riyals. Total operating income also gained 21.4 percent year on year to 3.88 billion riyals.
Loans and advances at the end of September stood at 225.86 billion riyals, gaining 7.6 percent on the same point of 2015, while deposits were flat over the same period at 272.6 billion riyals. ($1 = 3.7495 riyals) (Reporting by Tom Arnold; Editing by David French)