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Bundesbank 2012 profits stall on higher risk provisions

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Bundesbank said on Tuesday that its net profit for last year rose only slightly from a year earlier, owing to a steep increase in risk provisions.The German central bank said in a statement its net profit amounted to 664 million euros ($864 million) in 2012, compared with 643 million euros in 2011.The entire amount would be transferred to the federal government."Despite significantly higher interest income, there was scarcely any rise in the profit owing to a further steep increase in risk provisioning," Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann told the bank's annual balance sheet press conference.The central bank boosted its provisions for general risks, including inflation and exchange-rate risks, by 6.7 billion euros to 14.4 billion euros, he said, pointing to "further heightened risks stemming from monetary policy operations in the wake of the financial and sovereign debt crisis."The long-running crisis "represents the most significant risk for the economy in Germany," Weidmann said."Only some of the confidence lost as a result of the crisis has been recovered so far," he said.But as the year progressed, growth could be expected to become stronger, he insisted. This would depend, however, on the absence of further shocks to confidence."Despite the difficulties in many European partner countries, the German economy was still in good shape," Weidmann said.Last month, the European Central Bank said profits rose strongly last year, not least as a result of interest earned on its portfolio of sovereign bonds from crisis-ridden countries.The ECB's bottom-line net profit, after subtracting increased risk provisions, amounted to 998 million euros up from 728 million euros a year earlier.This profit would be distributed to the national central banks of the euro area.At the same time, the ECB said it would raise its risk provisions -- which cover foreign exchange rate, interest rate, credit and gold price risks -- to the absolute maximum.The central bank earns income on the investment of its foreign reserve assets, its own funds portfolio, interest income on its share of the total euro banknotes in circulation, and income arising from bond holdings.spm/ric/lc

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130312/bundesbank-2012-profits-stall-higher-risk-provisions