Commonwealth Bank chief Matt Comyn is betting on a strong economic rebound from lockdowns in the final quarter of 2021, emphasizing the importance of vaccines as the bank disclosed a $ 6 billion share buyback and gains considerably. higher.
In a sign of optimism from the nation’s largest bank, CBA raised dividends on Wednesday and slashed bad loan charges as cash earnings rose by a fifth to $ 8.65 billion for the financial year.
Comyn said CBA was ready to help customers struggling due to recent closings, but the roughly 400 daily loan deferral requests it was receiving were a fraction of the peaks seen last year.
Citing last year’s experience, Comyn predicted that business and consumer confidence would quickly rebound from the current lockdown-induced drop. The lockdown may take some pressure off the housing market, he said, but argued that this would be good news when annual price growth was close to 20 percent.
“While Australia faces short-term challenges due to lockdowns, we expect growth to simply roll back six months with the economy rebounding in late 2021 and growing strongly in 2022,” Comyn said.
Still, he also acknowledged the high level of uncertainty and said the bank was considering a wide range of scenarios that changed almost daily.
Almost seven weeks after Sydney was locked down, Mr. Comyn endorsed the government’s official policy of suppressing the virus until vaccine coverage was higher, but said that beyond that point “eradication” of the virus would not be possible.
“Clearly, there is a lot of work going on to speed up the launch. The next few months will be critical and hopefully the [COVID-19] the numbers will go down and, in parallel, the vaccination numbers will continue to increase ”, he said.
White Funds Management Managing Director Angus Gluksie said the CBA’s optimistic view of the economy could be overly optimistic, given the opinion of some experts that restrictions may be necessary even with high vaccine coverage. “It’s a bit illusory, but it relies heavily on a vaccine strategy that brings us to a point of normality,” Gluskie said.