BEIJING/HONG KONG, March 29 () – Bank of China Ltd (BoC) , the country’s fourth-largest lender by assets, said on Friday net profit eased 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, its first quarterly decline since 2017. Profit at BoC, the most internationalised Chinese bank, was 26.81 billion yuan ($3.99 billion) for the quarter ended December, compared to 26.9 billion yuan a year ago. This was above the 22.41 billion yuan profit estimated by analysts, according to Refinitiv SmartEstimate. SmartEstimates give more weight to recent estimates by analysts who are more consistently accurate. For 2018, net profit rose to 180.09 billion yuan from 172.41 billion yuan a year ago. BoC’s non-performing loan ratio was 1.42 percent as at end-December, down from 1.43 percent at end-September. BoC’s net interest margin edged up to 1.90 percent at end-December, from 1.89 percent at end-September. ($1 = 6.7166 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting By Shu Zhang and Julie Zhu; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)Our Standards:The Thomson Trust Principles.