Barclays first quarter profit underhits forecasts as coronavirus hurts borrowersBarclays first quarter profit underhits forecasts as coronavirus hurts borrowers
FILE PHOTO: The Barclays logo is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration

LONDON (Reuters) – Barclays set aside 2.1 billion pounds ($2.62 billion) to cover a likely spike in loan losses as thousands of its corporate and consumer borrowers battle to cope with the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The British lender booked first quarter pretax profits of 923 million pounds, down 38% from 1.5 billion pounds in the first quarter of 2019 and shy of the 1.27 billion pounds average of analysts’ forecasts compiled by the bank.

Barclays said group income rose by 20% to 6.3 billion pounds, boosted by a surge in activity in its transatlantic investment bank where pretax profits leapt by 42% to 1.2 billion pounds.

The fixed income, currencies and commodities unit was the investment bank’s best performer over the quarter, posting a 106% rise in income to 1.9 billion pounds as it cashed in on sharp global market swings in some of the world’s largest economies.

($1 = 0.8013 pounds)

(Reporting By Lawrence White and Iain Withers, editing by Sinead Cruise)