BNP Paribas gets off to a good start in 2017

French bank BNP Paribas said net profit rose by 4.4 percent to 1.89bn euros from January to March, beating analysts' expectations of around 1.6bn euros

French bank BNP Paribas said Wednesday it got off to a good start in 2017, notching up "solid" results in the first quarter on the strength of the financial markets.

It said in a statement its net profit rose by 4.4 percent to 1.89 billion euros ($2.0 billion) in the period from January to March, beating analysts' expectations of a figure of around 1.6 billion euros.

Revenues advanced by 4.2 percent to 11.3 billion euros, also outpacing expectations.

"BNP Paribas delivered a very good performance this quarter," said chief executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafe.

"The revenues of the operating divisions were significantly higher thanks to good business growth."

The bank attributed that growth to the strength of the financial markets.

"Domestic markets reported sustained business activity... with good growth in loans to individual and corporate clients."

The bank also reported "strong growth" in deposits and increased assets under management.

"Costs were well under control and the cost of risk was down. The group's balance sheet is rock-solid," with the core Tier 1 capital ratio -- a key gauge of financial strength -- rising to 11.6 percent, BNP Paribas said.