Citigroup beats expectations as it builds on fixed income momentum

Oliver Gill
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Analysts had indicated Citigroup would report revenues of $17.8bn in the first quarter (Source: Getty)

US lending giant Citigroup today beat first quarter market expectations after building on what it said was the momentum generated at the end of 2016.

Revenues for the three months to the end of March were $18.1bn (£14.5bn), well ahead of the $17.8bn more widely anticipated. It reported $17.6bn in its first quarter in 2016.

Net income was $4.1bn with earnings per share of $1.35 against market expectations of $1.24.

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Chief executive Michael Corbat said: “The momentum we saw across many of our businesses towards the end of last year carried into the first quarter, resulting in significantly better overall performance than a year ago."

Net income was boosted by higher revenues and lower costs of credit.

The firm's legacy asset revenue almost halved compared with the same period in 2016, falling from $1.9bn to $1.1bn, although it did increase slightly compared with the final quarter of 2016.

Corbat continued: "Revenues increased in both our consumer and institutional lines of business, most notably in areas where we have been investing such as Equities, US Cards and Mexico.

Fixed income

Consumer banking revenues held steady, but it was institutional clients that provided Citigroup with the best news. Revenue jumped from $8.2bn to $9.1bn.

Mirroring the final quarter of 2016, the firm's fixed income desks were the largest single contributor to its institutional revenue bump, rising nearly $700m to $3.6bn.

The group's capital buffers swell with its capital ratio rising from 12.3 per cent to 12.8 per cent, this was despite paying back $2.2bn to shareholders through returns of capital.

"Our capital ratio rose to 12.8 per cent and we could not be more committed to continuing to increase the capital we return to our shareholders,” Corbat said.

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