January 21, 2019 / 12:30 PM / in a month

REFILE-Krungthai Bank's annual profit jumps 27 pct as bad loan provisions fall

(Refiles to include Slug line)

BANGKOK, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Thailand’s fourth-largest lender, Krungthai Bank Pcl, reported a 27 percent jump in annual profit on Monday due to loan growth and smaller provisions to cover bad loans.

Krungthai said its 2018 net profit totalled 28.5 billion baht ($897 million), but that missed an average estimate of 29.4 billion baht by 21 analysts in a Refinitiv poll.

The state-owned lender said provisions on bad loans fell 41.6 percent to 26.2 billion baht.

Loans rose 4.4 percent from a year earlier as the bank increased lending to individual customers and state-owned companies.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy is slowing, with the government forecasting growth of at least 3.8 percent this year after it estimated 4 percent growth in 2018.

Krungthai Bank’s earnings were pressured by a 10.8 percent drop in fees after an industry-wide waiver on digital transaction fees, while net interest income fell 3.7 percent. ($1 = 31.7700 baht) (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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