Barclays reports first-quarter profits more than doubles

The better than expected results followed similarly upbeat news from rivals such as HSBC and Lloyds earlier in the week.

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Barclays profit more than doubles as bad loans shrink

Barclays reported first-quarter profits more than doubled, despite not releasing cash set aside to cover bad loans from the Covid-19 pandemic as its British peers had done.

Barclays booked a profit before tax for the three months ended March 31 of 2.4 billion pounds ($3.34 billion), up from 923 million pounds a year ago and above the 1.76 billion pound average of analysts’ forecasts.

The lender took an impairment charge of 55 mln pounds for further bad loan charges, much less than analysts had forecast and down from 2.1 billion pounds in the same period a year ago.

The better-than-expected results followed similarly upbeat news from rivals such as HSBC and Lloyds earlier in the week, as British banks benefited from government job support schemes that have put back the hit from the pandemic.

The British lenders however have been more cautious than US peers such as JPMorgan, which earlier this month released more than $5 billion it had set aside to cover bad loans.

Barclays’ strong results came despite a mixed performance from its investment bank, where the usually standout fixed income, currencies, and commodities unit reported a 35% decline in income.

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