By Makiko Yamazaki
TOKYO (Reuters) -Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc and Mizuho Financial Group on Thursday reported strong third-quarter profits in their core businesses thanks to an economic rebound in Japan and solid loan demand abroad.
Economic activity in Japan recovered from a pandemic-driven slump, boosting business lending, while higher interest rates fuelled demand for loans in the United States from companies shifting away from financing through bond markets. Provisions for credit losses also stayed low.
Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan’s largest lender by assets, saw its October-December net profit drop 61.2% from a year earlier because of another one-off loss related to the $8 billion sale of U.S. unit MUFG Union Bank, which it said would be mostly offset by an accounting gain in the fourth quarter.
Including the expected accounting gain, Mitsubishi UFJ’s nine-month net profit totalled 1.14 trillion yen ($8.86 billion), already ahead of its full-year profit forecast of 1 trillion yen.
Mizuho’s third-quarter net profit more than doubled to 209.3 billion yen compared to the same period last year, when results at the country’s No. 3 lender were weighed down by loan loss provisions for KKR & Co’s auto parts supplier Marelli Holdings Co.
Mizuho’s nine-month net profit came to 543.3 billion yen, also already ahead of its full-year forecast of 540 billion yen.
Japan’s second-largest bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc, on Monday reported a 42.6% jump in third-quarter net profit.
Despite the strong results, all three top lenders maintained their annual profit outlooks, citing recession fears in the United States and uncertainties over the war in Ukraine.
Their shares have risen by around 20% since the Bank of Japan’s surprise tweak to its bond yield controls in late December. That sparked expectations that the central bank could change course on its ultra-loose monetary policy.
($1 = 128.6100 yen)
(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Jamie Freed)