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Citigroup reports $18.3 billion loss, caused by new tax law

16 January 2018

(C) on Tuesday reported a loss for the fourth quarter, reflecting the impact of a non-cash charge of $22 billion due to the recent US tax reform that more than offset an increase in revenues. Revenue came in roughly in line with expectations at $17.3 billion and was 1 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2016.

Citigroup is the second major bank to reveal a one-time loss related to the new tax code.

Citigroup reported earnings of $1.28 a share for the final three months of 2017, excluding one-off items, compared with analysts' estimates of around $1.19.

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This was in part due to a four percent year-on-year gain in revenues from consumer banking, which rose on improving results in Mexico and Asia.

However, fixed income markets revenue decreased 18 percent due to continued lower volatility in the quarter as well as the comparison to a more robust trading environment in the prior year period as a result of the US elections. While the new law is expected to be a long-term positive for most companies, several announced they would have to take one-time charges stemming from the changes. Even so, it expects its tax rate to fall to about 25 percent this year from 30 percent in 2017.

Other banks are expected to, or have already taken, similar write-downs, as they report their results last week and this week.

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Lagging competitors in growth and not earning its cost of capital, Citigroup's valuation has not kept up with rivals like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America Corp.

Citigroup posted a loss of $18.3 billion, or $7.15 a share, its largest ever quarterly deficit, with the $22 billion charge also leading to a loss for the year. Institutional Clients Group revenue, which includes investment banking and trading, fell 1 percent, hurt by lower volatility in fixed income markets compared with a year ago when investors actively changed positions around the USA presidential election. Following the announcement, the stock was up about 3% at $79.07 in early trading indications Tuesday. Like other banks, Citi has been dealing with abnormally quiet financial markets for most of 2017, which kept investors from trading and made it more hard for Citi traders to take advantage of big swings in asset prices.

Citigroup reported almost $17.26 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter, topping the $17.23 billion consensus forecast of Wall Street analysts surveyed by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Citigroup's share price rose to its highest point in almost 10 years early on Tuesday, gaining one per cent to US$77.55.

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Citigroup reports $18.3 billion loss, caused by new tax law