Trading Surge Drives Deutsche Bank’s First Profit in 6 Years

Bond trading revenues and an effective cost-cutting programme netted the bank an estimate-smashing profit of €624 million.

Deutsche Bank AG closed 2020 with an annual profit for the first time in six years, owed in large part to a bond trading boom and having achieved cost-cutting targets.

For the full year, the bank made a profit of €624 million, up significantly from its net loss of €5.26 billion in 2019 as it underwent a major restructuring project. Analysts had expected to see a loss of €201 million, according to Refinitiv.

Profits were spurred on by Deutsche’s investment banking division, with net revenues rising 32% to €9.8 billion over the course of the year as trading in fixed income securities and currencies jumped 28%. The bank stated that this increase “more than offset a rise in provision for credit losses resulting from COVID-19.”

By contrast, Deutsche’s private banking and corporate banking divisions saw almost flat revenues in 2020, and asset management revenues fell 4%.

“In the most important year of our transformation, we were able to more than offset transformation-related effects and elevated credit provisions – despite the global pandemic,” Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing said in the Q4 report.

“We are confident this overall positive trend will continue in 2021 despite these challenging times.”

Deutsche Bank’s years-long journey back to profitability has not been smooth, having faced allegations of money-laundering and received a $2.5 billion fine for the fixing of LIBOR. It has also recently been caught up in the Wirecard scandal.

The bank also announced 18,000 job cuts in 2019 as part of a plan to reduce the size of its investment bank, which is now the main driver of its profits.

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