(Adds comments on loan pricing, Huishan Dairy)
BEIJING, March 30 China Construction Bank Corp
(CCB) , the country's second-biggest lender
by assets, expects its 2017 net interest margin to narrow only
slightly over the course of the year, the bank said on Thursday.
The bank's net interest margin will fall within 10 basis
points compared with the end of the fourth quarter of last year,
Xu Yiming, the bank's chief financial officer, told a news
Xu said he expected the bank's loan pricing to improve
slightly in 2017.
The lender's debt-to-equity swaps program was set to exceed
300 billion yuan ($43.54 billion) by the end of the first
quarter, bank president Wang Zuji also told reporters.
CCB on Wednesday reported a slightly higher fourth-quarter
and full-year net profit, amid a squeeze on bank margins.
The bank's net interest margin - the difference between
interest paid and earned - narrowed to 2.2 percent at
end-December, from 2.63 percent a year earlier.
CCB's non-performing loan (NPL) ratio eased to 1.52 percent
at end-2016 from 1.56 percent at end-September.
The transfer of NPLs from CCB's balance sheet - which
amounted to 38.15 billion yuan last year - are expected to be
"much smaller" this year, said Peng Hongming, head of the bank's
risk management department.
Separately, CCB president Wang said on the sidelines of the
briefing that the bank had no loan or other credit exposure to
troubled China Huishan Dairy Holdings Co Ltd.
($1 = 6.8895 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Shu Zhang and Matthew Miller; Additional
reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Clarence
Fernandez and Christopher Cushing)