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Deutsche Bank adds to fears for investment banks’ Q1 performance

March 13, 2014

By Maya Nikolaeva, Leigh Thomas and Greg Mahlich

PARIS (Reuters) – Deutsche Bank <DBKGn.DE> has had a “slow” start to the year in its investment banking business, due to market uncertainty related to the crisis in Ukraine and concerns about economic growth in China and Germany, it said on Thursday.

The comment from Germany’s biggest bank adds to warnings from U.S. rivals JPMorgan <JPM.N> and Citigroup <C.N> that this year has got off to a weak start for investment banks, continuing a slowdown seen in the second half of last year.

“To us, the year started slow. Obviously through political uncertainty we started to have market uncertainty again and a slowdown in business,” Deutsche Bank’s chief financial officer Stefan Krause said on Thursday.

“Ukraine, the data from China caused some slowdown … We had some ups and downs in Germany on data as well,” Krause told reporters on the sidelines of a banking conference in Paris, organized by The Economist magazine.

Krause said Deutsche Bank still sees positive results for the whole year.

His comments add to concerns that revenues in the first quarter, often the most lucrative for investment banks, will suffer from continued slow trading in fixed income, which makes up half of investment banks’ revenues.

Citigroup said last week its first-quarter bond trading revenue would be down by the “high mid-teens” in percentage terms from a year ago due to economic uncertainty and JPMorgan said on February 25 its markets revenues were down 15 percent on the year.

Revenues from fixed income for Europe’s investment banks are set to fall 20 percent from a year ago, analysts at Morgan Stanley said this week. Deutsche and Barclays <BARC.L> would be hardest hit as they have the biggest fixed income businesses in Europe, and they appear to be losing share to U.S. rivals.

Revenues from fixed income – especially rates – have fallen sharply since May, blamed on tougher regulation and a move by the U.S. central bank to put the brakes on its bond buying programme.

That has raised the prospect of investment banks continuing to shrink and restructure operations, resulting in hundreds more job cuts.

(Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva; Editing by Leigh Thomas, Greg Mahlich)

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