Bank of China announced that its non-performing loan (NPL) ratio decreased to 16.3% by the end of 2003. The state bank said that massive debt write-offs caused a 51% decline in net profits for the year. Bank of China announced that international accountancy firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers was prepared to verify its reported NPL ratio, which fell short of many analyst predictions. Bank of China, which aims to list in 2005, is having difficulty in disposing of bad loans. The government postponed an auction by the bank scheduled for April due to fears of loans being sold at excessively low prices.