BEIJING (AP) - Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., one of the country's four major state-owned commercial lenders, says its quarterly profit edged up just 1.5 percent as the country's economic growth slowed.

BEIJING (AP) Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., one of the country's four major state-owned commercial lenders, says its quarterly profit edged up just 1.5 percent as the country's economic growth slowed.

The Beijing-based bank said it earned 54.3 billion yuan ($8.7 billion), or 0.17 yuan (2 U.S. cents) per share, in the three months ending March 31. Operating income rose 2.9 percent to 140.6 billion yuan ($22.6 billion).

The bank said its rise in profit was due largely to a 6.1 percent gain in net interest income to 109.4 billion yuan ($17.6 billion).

Revenue growth for China's state-owned banking industry has declined as economic growth cooled from the double-digit rates of the past decade. Growth slowed to 7 percent in the latest quarter.

Bank profits also have been squeezed as Beijing gradually narrows the margin between lending and deposit rates to encourage consumer spending by shifting more money to savers.

Agricultural Bank's revenue growth was the slowest since 2010 but the results reflect "good cost control," Barclays said in a report.

The bank said its total assets rose 5.4 percent over the course of the quarter to 16.8 trillion yuan ($2.7 trillion) yuan as of March 31.

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Agricultural Bank of China: www.abchina.com