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PETALING JAYA: The interest in banks have returned following a higher interest rate environment and improving economy.
The share price performance of most banks are back to pre-Covid-19 levels.
However, their valuations are inexpensive against a five-year and 10-year price to book valuation (PBV) cycle, said TA Research.
“Sector financial year 2022 PBV have improved as it now trades closer to one time. Industry return on equity is also predicted to broaden,” said TA Research in its banking sector update.
Coming from a high base of 34.9% growth in 2021, the research firm anticipates profit to increase by 7.6% in 2022 and 18.9% in 2023 respectively.
“As anticipated, the volume of loans and advances continue to increase as the domestic economy returns to normal and international borders reopen.
“The growth in momentum observed in the fourth quarter of 2021 and persisted into 2022 has been broad-based.
“Encouragingly, the annual business loan applications and approvals are rising,’ it said.,
The research firm added forward-looking trend lines suggest that business loans are on an upward trajectory, indicating improved growth for the segment over the next six to 12 months. Meanwhile, consumer sentiment is expected to remain buoyant as the expansion of consumer loans positively correlates with the consumer sentiment index, gross domestic product, and inflation.
“Collectively, we maintain a loan growth projection of 5.8% for 2022, which is within Bank Negara’s forecast range of 5.4% to 6.4%,” it added.
The research firm believes there is room for more interest rate hikes, from its earlier projected two rate hikes for 2022. This will bode well for banks’ margin. However, TA Research expects competition for loans and deposits to also restart with the brighter macroeconomic prospects.
“On the downside, we believe an accelerated, successive interest rate hike would raise financing costs and suppress much-needed cash flow buffers for households and businesses. Coupled with rising inflationary pressures, demand could be subdued, leading to decreased investment, discouraging lending activities, and potentially raising impaired loans,” it added.
But for now, it noted asset quality in the remains largely in check.
“Additionally, the sector remains supported by ample capital and liquidity buffers well above regulatory requirements.
“As the outlook and visibility have improved, combined with good liquidity and capital buffers, we foresee most banks resuming their dividend payout policies,” TA Research said.
“As the outlook and visibility have improved, combined with good liquidity and capital buffers, the majority of banks have resumed their dividend payout policies.