(Yicai Global) Jan. 23 -- The A share price and H share price of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) [SHA:601398; HK:1398] both hit a new all-time high today, propelling ICBC to surpass JPMorgan Chase & Co. [NYSE:JPM] and once again become the world's largest bank by market capitalization after two years .
The A share price of ICBC rose 5 percent early today, hitting a new all-time high of CNY7.53 (USD 1.17), and its circulation market value reached CNY2.03 trillion. Its H share price gained nearly 3 percent at its zenith today to touch a new high of HKD7.3 (USD0.93), with the value of tradable shares of CNY519.77 billion. Its combined total market capitalization reached CNY2.55 trillion.
JPMorgan, which was the world's largest bank by market capitalization before today, saw its share price gain 1.17 percent yesterday to close at USD114.33, with the market cap at USD396.69 billion (CNY2.54 trillion). Per that calculation, ICBC has surpassed JPMorgan today to become the number one bank in the world.
After the 2008 financial crisis, ICBC was the highest-valued bank in the world for a long period, but with the recovery of the US banking industry and its stock market, Wells Fargo & Co.[NYSE:WFC] and JPMorgan surpassed ICBC in 2015 and 2016, respectively, in market cap.
China's equity market is going from strength to strength this year, and banking stocks have chalked up substantial gains. The A share banking index has gone up by over 14 percent to date this year. The non-performing loan rate of the Chinese banking industry is now around 1.74 percent, lower than the 1.81 percent in 2016, per securities institutions' analyses. The Chinese government's supply-side reforms and debt-to-equity exchanges will help further improve the quality of banking assets.