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Source: www.asiaecon.org |


Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s biggest bank by market value, has announced its first quarterly profit in the past nine months as the recession abates.

According to the Tokyo-based bank, net income rose from 51.2 billion yen in 2008 to 75.9 billion yen ($797 million) in the second quarter of 2009. The company’s profit was assisted by the increase in lending income and gain in stockholdings after investing $9 billion in Morgan Stanley in October 2008.

Five of the largest banks in Japan announced improved results from the first to second quarter, boosted by rising stock markets and smaller bad-debt charges. Together, Mtisubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc have raised more than $30 billion of capital this year alone, which allows them to compete with foreign banks like Citigroup Inc.

Michael Wood-Martin from Henderson Global Investors in London, who helps oversee an estimated $1 billion, says that there is hope for a global return to “normality” in banks.

Mitsubishi UFJ shares rose 4.4 percent in July 31 in Tokyo. The Topix Banks Index gained 2.4 percent.

Japan’s two largest brokerages, Nomura Holdings Inc and Daiwa Securities Group Inc. also returned to profit in the second quarter, along with overseas firms like Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Deutsche Bank AG and Credit Suisse Group AG that reported profits that surpassed analysts’ estimates. The improvements triggered optimism that the world economy is actually recovering.

It is estimated that Japan’s gross domestic product grew 2.4 percent by the end of the second quarter in 2009, a significant pick up from the first quarter’s 14.2 percent decline.

In May 2009 Mizuho said that the government’s loan guarantees of up to 30 trillion yen in the previous 12 months would curtail bankruptcies.

Mitsubishi UFJ had a 23 percent gain in Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average in the quarter after a 409 billion yen loss on its shareholdings in 2008. Its 21 percent stake in Morgan Stanley also rose as the U.S bank’s stock climbed 25 percent.

“Mitsubishi UFJ has the best asset quality of the big banks,” Ismael Pili, a Tokyo-based analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd., said before yesterday’s announcement. “If the banks decide to crank up equity gains or come in with lower provisions, we see scope for higher profits.”

Japan’s second largest bank, Sumitomo Mitsui reported a 72.8 billion yen profit at the end of the second quarter as income from bond trading increased and losses on stock investments fell. The bank is purchasing brokerage operations from Citigroup in Japan after raising an estimated 860 billion yen in a stock sale.

Mizuho Financial, however, posted an unexpected first-quarter loss of 4.5 billion yen, despite being ranked number three, due to higher credit costs and losses in derivatives contracts.

Bad-loan costs increased 189.8 billion yen from 141.7 billion yen a year earlier, after Mitsubishi UFJ made Acom Co, a consumer lender, a unit in October 2008. From the previous quarter, credit costs at the group’s banking units fell by 26 percent to 73.3 billion yen.

Source: www.asiaecon.org |


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