Net profit down nearly a third at Dutch lender Rabobank


AMSTERDAM, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Rabobank reported a 29% fall in first-half net profit on Thursday, which the Dutch cooperative lender blamed on rising impairment charges, restructuring costs and low interest rates.

Rabobank, the largest Dutch mortgage bank and a leading lender in the North American agriculture sector, said net profit fell to 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in the six-month period from 1.7 billion euros a year earlier.

Impairment charges on financial assets increased by 477 million euros from the first half of 2018, which equates to 21 basis points of the average loan portfolio, versus a long-term average of 32 basis points, said the bank, whose main domestic rivals are ABN Amro and ING .

Rabobank Chairman Wiebe Draijer said global economic developments threatened stability and growth prospects, although the company did not provide a specific financial outlook.

"Take for example the escalating trade war between the United States and China, the growing likelihood of a hard Brexit and the persistent low interest rate environment," Draijer said in a statement.

The bank, which has been going through a long restructuring, said its global staff numbers declined nearly 4% to just under 42,000.

($1 = 0.8970 euros)

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