Spain's Santander has today posted an 82% year-on-year slump in quarterly net profit as it booked higher provisions for expected credit losses from the coronavirus outbreak. 

The euro zone's second-largest bank by market value reported a profit of €331m for the first quarter ended in March. 

Overall loan-loss provisions rose 80% after the bank set aside €1.6 billion to offset the impact from Covid-19 based on the expected deterioration of the macroeconomic conditions arising from the health crisis.

"We will review our strategic targets once we have a more complete understanding of the full impact of the crisis," Santander Chairman Ana Botin said in a statement. 

Excluding extraordinary provisions, which included €46m of restructuring costs in Europe, Santander's underlying quarterly profit rose 1% to €1.98 billion. 

That was slightly better than an average analyst estimate of €1.8 billion drawn from a Reuters poll. 

Banks worldwide have been taking measures to offset risk amid the crisis. 

US lenders have set aside billions of dollars to cover potential loan defaults, while European players such as Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank have been doing likewise. 

Santander too has boosted its lending capacity partly by scrapping its final 2019 dividend, after a regulatory directive to do so to support an economy hamstrung by curbs. 

As of the end of March, Santander had a core tier-1 capital ratio - the strictest measures of solvency - of 11.58% compared to 11.65% at the end of December. 

Including the full implementation of new accounting standard IFRS-9, with an impact of 25 basis points, Santander's capital ratio stood at 11.33%.