First quarter net income at BNP Paribas rose 10.1% as lower provisions for bad loans on the back of a gradual economic recovery in Europe helped offset a slump in its corporate and institutional bank, hit by volatility. 

BNP Paribas' net income of €1.814 billion beat the average estimate in a Reuters poll of analysts, as did revenue, which slipped 2% to €10.844 billion. 

The profit rise bucked the trend among other big European banks.

"In a particularly unfavourable market environment, the group's revenues held up well thanks to the diversity of its geographies and businesses," the bank's chief executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafe said. 

The bank's domestic markets division, which includes its French, Italian and Belgian retail activities and has proven a lucrative counterweight to market turmoil, saw pretax income rise 3.7%.

France's biggest bank said the cost of risk, which fell 27.5%, was down across all business divisions, in particular at loss-making Italian unit BNL as a result of low interest rates.

Banks around the world have been hit by concerns over global growth, a slide in commodity and oil prices, near-zero interest rates, rising regulatory costs and hefty capital requirements. 

As at rivals, BNP Paribas' corporate and institutional bank bore the scars of volatile markets and weak investor demand, with pretax income down 54.5% and revenue down 18.9%. 

BNP Paribas is cutting costs and reducing risk-weighted assets in a move that should help improve profitability and free up the bank's capital under more stringent regulations. 

The bank cited a "wait-and-see" attitude among investors during the first two months of the year, but added that client activity recovered significantly at the end of the quarter.