Spanish banking group BBVA, one of the nation's largest, today announced a 33% leap in net profit for 2013 despite suffering losses in the final quarter.

BBVA said net profit for the whole of 2013 climbed 32.9% year-over-year to €2.23 billion, as it joined a recovery in the top ranks of the Spanish banking sector.

Net banking income fell 3.4% over the same time to €14.6 billion euros, said BBVA, the second-largest in Spain by market value and third-largest by assets under management.

"The outlook for 2014 has improved significantly and at BBVA, we are in an excellent position to respond to the growth of the solvent demand for credit," BBVA chairman Francisco Gonzalez said in a statement.

However, the bank reported a net loss of €849m in the final three months of 2013, caused by the loss-making sale of a 5.1% stake in China Citic Bank.

This was worse than expected by financial markets and compared to a €20m profit in the same period a year earlier.

The bank said it had weathered "a complex environment" during 2013 by leveraging its international spread.

Turkey, Asia and Latin America contributed 60% of gross income, BBVA said.

The group said it invested in emerging regions while keeping down costs in developed economies, helping to absorb losses it suffered in Spain, where property-related assets have declined in value.

BBVA said the ratio of rock solid core capital on its balance sheet rose by nearly one percentage point to 11.6 percent of all capital. An improvement in the banking business in Spain is "on the horizon", it said.