German export and project specialist KfW IPEX-Bank has cut loan provisions as profit rose in 2018.

New commitments reached EUR 17.7bn ($19.97bn) from EUR 12.1bn in 2017.

Earnings rose to EUR 537m, from EUR 469m, while risk provisions shrank to EUR 5m from EUR 78m.

New commitments were EUR 0.7bn, down from EUR 1.7bn, for bank refinancing under the CIRR (commercial interest reference rate) ship and European Recovery Fund (ERP) export financing programmes.

CEO Klaus Michalak said: "In 2018, we once again provided successful support to German and European companies on the global markets - thanks to our considerable structuring and industry expertise.

The Frankfurt lender now has a loan book of EUR 66.6bn, up from EUR 61.5bn in 2017.

Export and project financing commitments were above-average, it said.

And it benefited from the euro-dollar exchange rate, as around 45% of its loans are denominated in US dollars.

Clients banking KfW cash last year included AIDA Cruises, Royal Arctic Line, Idan Ofer's Quantum Pacific, TUI and Gunvor.

"Despite global challenges, KfW IPEX-Bank is confident as it looks ahead to the new 2019 financial year," said Michalak.

"We are planning new commitments in the amount of EUR 16.6bn."