Credit Agricole SA profits rose sharply in the first quarter as revenue from fixed-income trading surged to the highest in more than two years. Like rivals in Europe and around the world, France’s second largest bank by assets benefited from a rebound in bond trading, supported by political uncertainty and as the U.S. Federal Reserve held the line on interest rates hikes.
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Credit Agricole said on Thursday that its earnings soared to €845 ($918 million) in the three months through March 2017 from €227 a year earlier, while revenue rose 24 percent to €4.7 billion, a figure that was significantly higher than those posted by its European rivals. The standout metrics came as investment banking and bond trading revenues beat analysts’ forecasts, helping drive a surprise increase in first-quarter profit.
The Paris-based lender also revealed that net income for its international retail-banking business, which includes Italy, Poland and Egypt, rose 15 percent to €61 million during the first three months of the year.
The bank said that its stronger revenue growth reflected “an improvement in economic activity in the group’s core European markets, but above all, the robustness of the universal customer-focused banking model”.