Ping An Insurance Group Co. of China Ltd., China’s largest insurer by market value, reported a 17.6 percent drop in its 2022 annual net profit on Wednesday due to a slump in investment gains.
Its profit of 83.8 billion yuan ($12.14 billion) for the year ended Dec. 31 was down from 101.6 billion yuan in 2021, a statement filed to the Hong Kong stock exchange showed.
The result was below analysts’ median estimate of 102.8 billion yuan, according to Refinitiv.
The company’s insurance business and investment returns have been hit by weakness in China’s economy, which was squeezed by three years of COVID restrictions, and a crisis in its property sector.
Total investment income fell 29.3 percent year-on-year to 101.8 billion yuan last year, the filing showed.
“Global capital markets remained volatile in a complex international environment in 2022,” the insurer said in its filing. “Domestic economic growth faced three headwinds: namely declining demand, supply chain disruption and weakening confidence.”
“Household consumption recovery still faced many challenges, which continued to have an impact on Ping An’s long-term life and health protection insurance business,” it said.
The group’s gross written premiums rose 1.5 percent to 769.6 billion yuan from the year before, while the number of retail customers rose 2.1 percent from the end of 2021 to 226.6 million.
Its banking unit Ping An Bank posted 25.3 percent growth in annual net profit, with a non-performing loan ratio of 1.05 percent at the end of last year, rising 3 basis points from the end of 2021.
($1 = 6.9020 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Ziyi Tang in Beijing and Selena Li in Hong Kong; editing by Mark Potter)
Photograph: The logo for Ping An Insurance Group is seen on a building in Beijing, China. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)