SAO PAULO – Itau Unibanco, Brazil’s largest privately owned bank, said Tuesday it posted net income of 21.63 billion reais (about $6.93 billion) in 2016, down 7.4 percent from the previous year.
Net income came in at $5.54 billion reais (about $1.77 billion) in the fourth quarter, down 2.7 percent from the same period in 2015, the bank said in a statement.
Itau Unibanco CEO Roberto Setubal said the economic recession in Brazil affected the bank’s results, but net income was in line with management’s expectations.
Profits were also affected by an increase in loan-loss provisions, Setubal said.
Itau Unibanco is “cautiously optimistic” about the outlook for 2017 and 2018, Setubal, who will be replaced by Candido Bracher in April, said.
The bank expects Brazil’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow 1 percent this year, a number above the average of other financial institutions’ forecasts.
Brazil’s GDP contracted 3.8 percent in 2015, the biggest drop in 25 years, and analysts estimate that the economy contracted 3.5 percent last year.
“The signs of recovery are still inconsistent, but they are better than a few months ago,” Setubal said.