Singapore Banks Earnings

The three local banks, DBS, OCBC & UOB comprise the lion’s share of the Straits Times Index (STI), so it is little surprise that their earnings announcements are closely watched.

Singapore Q4 bank earnings – DBS’ results to lead?

Company Earnings Report Date1
OCBC 14 February 2018 (Bef market)
UOB 14 February 2018 (Bef market) 
DBS 8 February 2018 (Bef market)

1Correct as of Jan 2018

Singapore’s Q4 2017 bank earnings season commences with DBS Group Holdings Ltd. leading the trio of big banks in the release on the Straits Times Index (STI). A continuation from 2017 has seen the three local banks outperform the benchmark STI in the first month of the year, powered in-part by the optimism in earnings and economic growth. The focus will be on whether Q4 earnings can match up to expectations and how the sector would respond towards these results. 

Singapore banks results and expectations





Q3 Revenue (billion)




Q4 Revenue estimate (billion)


(+5.2% YoY)


(+7.7% YoY)


(+9.8% YoY)

Q3 EPS Adj.




Q4 EPS Adj. estimate


(+26.8 YoY)


(+36.8% YoY)


(+15.6% YoY)

Q3 Net income Adj. (billion)




Q4 Net income Adj. estimate (billion)


(+24.4% YoY)


(+16.6% YoY)


(+14.4% YoY)

Source: Bloomberg

How Q4 results likely fare?

Rosy expectations have certainly been penned in by analysts according to the latest Bloomberg consensus with DBS’ net income growth expected to fly above the other two. One would find it difficult to dispute the array of positive factors supporting such an expectation, as both net interest income and non-interest income look set to rise amid receding credit concerns.

Among the factors, the expected surge in margins from the spike in SIBOR has been seen as a key proponent for improved performance in the final quarter of the year. 3-month SIBOR rose from the lows of 1.25% to a height of 1.50% in late December 2017 as US rate hikes took place, supporting the lift of local net interest margins. Despite the higher rates outlook, Singapore’s loan growth nevertheless remained robust and looks to continue in this trend, cushioned by the improvement in growth situation and sentiment. An average of 6.5% loan growth had been recorded for Q417 with November 2017 being a particularly strong month, boding well for results. Separately, banks’ non-interest income are also expected to get a boost from higher wealth management fees with the risk-on sentiment persevering through Q4 and even into 2018.

Credit woes over?

As we look towards DBS’ Q4 earnings to kick-start the season, one cannot help but remember the deviation of the bank’s performance in Q3. Specific allowances for credit and other costs had weighed on profits under the bank’s kitchen-sink attempt to deal with their bad loans within the oil and gas sector. While recovery for the sector remains slow but steady, it does look like the dark clouds have passed for the time being and lay to rest some concerns on this end. With the acceleration in crude prices through to the New Year and the global economic recovery yet to reach the end of its cycle, guidance from the banks may very well lean towards the positive end for 2018.

Against the backdrop of positive factors, look for a beat of the consensus and banks’ 2018 guidance into February for prices to further rally. Over and above the short-term gains that the earnings and guidance may bring forth, the structurally sound growth story also places local bank stocks in good position to capture longer-term returns. Indeed, analysts’ recommendations finds a ‘buy’ call overwhelming across all three banks, with the strongest signal owned by DBS.

Technical Analysis

Being the first to release their results and with the strongest profit growth expected, DBS may be the best to capture movements in this upcoming earnings season. Watch for a retest of the January 25 high of $27.40 with immediate support at $26.15. Do note that any dip pass the 50% retracement level at $25.725 could see the uptrend giving up to a head-and-shoulder pattern for further downsides.



Earnings Release: 14 February 2018
Market Cap: S$54.33 billion2

Registered in 1932, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (OCBC) is the oldest bank in Singapore, after a merger of three Hokkien lenders. It counts OCBC Securities and Great Eastern Holding Ltd among its subsidiaries. The bank has a presence in 18 countries and territories, and is the second-largest financial institution in Southeast Asia (SEA) by assets.

Live OCBC prices


Earnings Release: 14 February 2018

Market Cap: S$46.48 billion2

United Overseas Bank (UOB) was set up in 1935 and is now the third-largest bank by assets in Southeast Asia. Having started out as United Chinese Bank, UOB was renamed in 1965 and it now has over 500 offices across 19 countries and territories. The bank is increasing its yuan business, with the asset management arm securing a RQFII licence in June 2015.

Live UOB prices


Earnings Release: 8 February 2018
Market Cap: S$68.08 billion2

Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) is the largest bank in Singapore by assets and was initially established by the Singapore government to assume industrial financing activities. DBS acquired the Asian private banking business of Societe Generale in 2014, and was the only ASEAN bank to be ranked among the world's top 50 private banking brands in 2015.

Live DBS prices

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2Source: Bloomberg (October 2017)

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