CARACAS, Thursday February 07, 2013 | Update

Venezuela's banking sector reports the highest return in the region

Fitch Ratings estimates that the Venezuelan economy may experience a drop in dynamism and grow 1.6% in 2013

Venezuelan banks have kept their capitalization levels (File photo)
Thursday February 07, 2013  12:36 PM
In a report on banking performance in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador, credit rating firm Fitch Ratings stated that the average return on assets of Venezuela's banking system (4.1%) return is among the highest in the region.

However, Fitch claimed that return may drop in 2013 from its historical high levels because of lower interest rate spread and higher pressure on banking fees.

Fitch warned that "solid return and regulations on the payment in cash of dividends (up to 50% of net profits) led to the preservation of capitalization in Venezuelan banks in 2012."

The firm added that government control over banking fees continues limiting income diversification and prevents improvement of efficiency ratio, and therefore of the return ratio. 

Fitch estimated that the Venezuelan economy would grow 1.6% this year, falling from the 5.1% ceiling reported in 2012. The drop is attributed to lack of fiscal stimulus, lower household consumption, the regulations that the private sector must deal with to buy US dollars in the foreign exchange market, and potential adjustments in the foreign exchange rate.

Moreover, the firm projected that average inflation may jump to 24.3%.

Translated by Jhean Cabrera
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