Barclays has reported a 30% drop in pre-tax profits to £3.1bn for 2020 as its provision for bad loans due to the pandemic hit £4.8bn.
However, the drop was much less than forecast as a strong performance by its investment bank offset cash set aside to deal with debt caused by the economic fallout of COVID-19.
The banking giant said it would resume paying dividends after lenders halted payouts last year at the request of the Bank of England.
The reported profit before tax was well above the average estimate of £1.96bn from analysts’ forecasts compiled by the
Barclays’ profit was bolstered by a successful year for its investment bank, which in common with US peers reported strong revenues from its equities and fixed income businesses as customers traded frantically in volatile markets in 2020.
The fixed income, currencies and commodities unit reported a 53% increase in income, as swings in global interest rates and prices of commodities such as oil drove activity.
Equities saw a 31% rise in income while banking fees rose by 8%.
Barclays saw impairments from bad loan provisions related to the pandemic dip to £492m in the fourth quarter, giving a full year total of £4.8bn.