BNP Paribas stole a march on its French rivals in the third quarter, with a bond trading boom playing to its strengths and helping it offset the impact of low interest rates on retail banking to beat profit forecasts. 

BNP followed US rivals and Britain's Barclays in reporting strong revenue in bond trading. 

The French bank's share price has outperformed Societe Generale, Credit Agricole and Natixis so far this year, as it turned the page on past troubles and focused on a transformation of its investment bank. 

BNP Paribas said it had seen a pick-up in fixed income, currencies and commodity (FICC) in Europe and the Americas after a lacklustre start to the year. 

It also said it had embarked on saving costs in all regions in its corporate and institutional banking business, as part of a plan announced earlier this year. 

BNP, which was fined $8 billion by the US in 2014 for sanctions busting, has escaped major uncertainties since, unlike SocGen which faces a pending sanctions probe in the US and Credit Agricole which is undergoing a major structural overhaul this year. 

Both banks are due to report their results over the next two weeks. 

Net income at BNP rose 3.3% to €1.89 billion, beating the average of analyst estimates of €1.72 billion in a Reuters poll. 

BNP Paribas also raised its common equity tier 1 ratio - a key measure of a lender's ability to absorb losses - by 30 basis points in the third quarter to 11.4%, as it sought to reassure investors concerned about rising capital requirements for banks.