Moody's Investors Service

Moody's: Shariah-compliant #investment accounts at #Malaysian banks to continue growing

According to Moody's Investors Service, the growth of shariah-compliant investment accounts at Malaysian banks will remain strong over the next three to five years. Moody's Vice President, Simon Chen, said Malaysian banks have strong incentives to promote the growth of such investment accounts because they provide capital benefits. He added that concerns also exist over the untested state of loss-sharing mechanisms in the accounts. The robust growth of shariah-compliant investment accounts in Malaysia began in July 2015 following the implementation of the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013. By February 2017, these accounts had grown to RM74.2 billion, or 13%, of total banking system liabilities. On the question of risk, Moody's said that a significant loss event to test the resilience of this regime has yet to occur.

Moody's: #GCC Islamic banks more profitable than conventional peers for second year running in 2017

According to Moody's Investors Service, the profitability of Islamic banks' in the Gulf cooperation Council (GCC) region will outpace that of their conventional peers for the second consecutive year in 2017. Islamic banks will maintain stronger margins in 2017, primarily as a result of their low funding costs, which reflect their reliance on stable current and savings account balances. Islamic banks also tend to have higher asset yields, given their focus on retail and the real estate related lending. Moody's expects that Islamic banks will retain a margin advantage of about 40 basis points over conventional banks in 2017. Moody's analyst Nitish Bhojnagarwala says conventional banks will continue to beat Islamic peers in terms of cost efficiency. Islamic banks are investing in branch network expansion, while conventional banks have already established their branch networks.

Moody's assigns (P)B3 to #Pakistan's sovereign #sukuk

Moody's Investors Service has today assigned a provisional (P)B3 rating to the proposed US dollar Trust Certificates to be issued by The Third Pakistan International Sukuk Company. The (P)B3 rating reflects Moody's view that the sukuk certificate holders will effectively be exposed to the sovereign credit risk incorporated in the government's issuer rating. Payment obligations represented by the securities are ranked pari passu with other senior, unsecured debt issuances of the Government of Pakistan. The rating for the Government of Pakistan captures moderate economic strength, structurally large fiscal imbalances, a high government debt burden and high susceptibility to political event risks.

Moody's: Islamic banks' strong liquidity profiles driven by retail strengths and government sukuk availability

Moody's Investors Service says that the liquidity coverage ratios of Islamic banks in key Asian and GCC countries highlight sound liquidity profiles and broad compliance with Basel III regulatory requirements.
"In the report, we highlight that a key driver of LCR performance is the funding profile of banks and, in this context, over-reliance on corporate deposits and unsecured wholesale funding means higher potential liquidity pressures," says Simon Chen, a Moody's Vice President and Senior Analyst. "However, banks with a greater proportion of retail deposits that are considered more 'sticky', typically display stronger LCRs," adds Chen.

Qatar’s new insurance instructions credit positive: Moody’s

The recent instructions issued by the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) for insurers operating in Qatar are credit positive. These instructions are related to licensing, regulations and controls, risk management, accounting and actuaries reports. The instructions include prudential requirements and took effect this month. Insurers that will benefit from the new law include the largest Qatari insurance groups: Damaan Islamic Insurance Company, Qatar Insurance Company, Qatar General Insurance & Reinsurance Company, Doha Insurance Company, Al Khaleej Takaful Group and Qatar Islamic Insurance Company.

Moody's downgrades Saudi banking system to negative

Saudi Arabia's banking sector is to feel the brunt of cheap oil and the resulting government spending cuts, according to a new report by Moody's. The credit rating agency has downgraded the banking industry from stable to negative as GDP growth is predicted to slow to just 1.5 per cent in 2016, more than half of the previous year. As a result, the agency has predicted loan growth to slow down to between 3 per cent and 5 per cent for 2016, down from from 8 per cent in 2015 and 12 per cent the year before. Asset risk is also expected to rise as a result of the deteriorating operating environment. Meanwhile, capital buffers are likely to remain solid with the sector's average tangible common equity (TCE) ratio remaining broadly stable.

Moody's places on review for downgrade 8 government-related issuers in GCC countries

Moody's Investors Service has placed on review for downgrade the ratings of eight government-related issuers (GRIs) based in GCC countries. These issuers are: Emirates Telecommunications Grp Co PJSC, Industries Qatar Q.S.C., International Petroleum Investment Company, Mubadala Development Company, Qatar Petroleum, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, Saudi Electricity Company, Saudi Telecom Company. Moody's also placed on review for downgrade the ratings of Qatari Diar Finance Q.S.C. (QDF) and the ratings on the notes issued by 1MDB Energy Limited (1MDBEL). Today's actions follow the placement on review for downgrade of the sovereign ratings of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the emirate of Abu Dhabi on 4 March 2016.

Moody's holds its first Banking and Islamic Finance Workshop in Bahrain

Moody's Investors Service will hold its first Banking and Islamic Finance Workshop in Bahrain on Wednesday 2nd of September. The workshop will focus on Bahrain's banking sector amid low oil prices and global headwinds. It ill kick-off with a presentation from Jean-Francois Tremblay, Associate Managing Director, Financial Institutions Group, surrounding key global developments within credit markets. The workshop will also provide Moody's assessment of the local operating environment and the creditworthiness of banks in Bahrain and the rest of the region. In addition, the workshop will also discuss the latest developments in the Islamic Finance sector as well as growths trends and liquidity management challenges.

Moody's affirms Masraf Al Rayan's issuer ratings: outlook now positive from stable

Moody's Investors Service has affirmed Masraf Al Rayan's (MAR) A2/Prime-1 issuer ratings and baa3 baseline credit assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA. At the same time, Moody's changed the outlook on the bank's long term issuer ratings to positive from stable. The change in the outlook to positive from stable reflects the ongoing improvements in MAR's business and geographic diversification, including the growth and transition to profitability of its recently acquired subsidiary Al Rayan Bank PLC based in UK. Further underpinning Moody's view on the outlook is Qatar's considerable economic strength, with robust growth prospects driven by the significant wealth and resources of the country, despite lower oil prices.

Moody's affirms Masraf Al Rayan's issuer ratings: changed outlook to positive from stable

Moody's Investors Service has affirmed Masraf Al Rayan's (MAR) A2/Prime-1 issuer ratings and baa3 baseline credit assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA. At the same time, Moody's changed the outlook on the bank's long term issuer ratings to positive from stable. Moody's affirmation reflects MAR's continued strong core financial fundamentals with (1) consistently strong asset quality performance, (2) strong and stable profitability and (3) solid capital buffers. The change in the outlook to positive from stable reflects the ongoing improvements in MAR's business and geographic diversification. Further underpinning Moody's view on the outlook is Qatar's considerable economic strength.

Moody's: Outlook for Indonesia's banking system remains stable

Moody's Investors Service says the outlook on Indonesia's (Baa3 stable) banking system remains stable, reflecting an expectation that the country's banks will withstand a challenging operating environment owing to their strong buffers. Nonperforming loans will likely rise, given slowing economic growth, nonetheless, the banks are well-positioned to withstand any deterioration in asset quality and will maintain strong capital levels. Moody's conclusions were contained in its just-released "Banking System Outlook: Indonesia", which expresses Moody's view of how bank creditworthiness will evolve in this system over the next 12-18 months. The report looks at the banking system in the five categories of operating environment; asset quality and capital; funding and liquidity; profitability and efficiency; and system support.

Moody's upgrades Qatar Islamic Insurance Company to Baa1 IFS rating; stable outlook

Moody's Investors Service has today upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2 the insurance financial strength rating (IFSR) of the Qatar Islamic Insurance Company ("QIIC"). The rating carries a stable outlook. The rating upgrade for QIIC reflects (i) the company's improved and extremely strong capitalisation in relation to insurance risk; and (ii) its sustained strong profitability both in terms of underwriting profit and of bottom line. Nonetheless, Moody's added that QIIC maintains a significant level of investment risk, as QIIC invests predominantly in Qatari equity and property markets, translating to a high risk assets ratio. Furthermore, QIIC's insurance risk remains relatively concentrated to Qatar. The outlook is stable reflecting the expectation that the improvements in QIIC's capitalization will be maintained.

Moody's: Indonesia's government roadmap will drive Islamic banking consolidation and growth

Moody's Investors Service says that the Indonesian government's (Baa3 stable) Islamic finance roadmap will encourage consolidation among smaller Islamic banks in the country, and foster the development of a larger domestic Sukuk market. The consolidation of state-owned and commercial Islamic banks will increase the size of the banks' capital bases, improve cost efficiencies, and allow increased underwriting in the corporate and infrastructure sectors. Moody's report points out that Islamic banks operate less extensive branch networks when compared to conventional banks, and their capital bases are smaller. Their riskier customer base has led to non-performing financing ratios that are consistently higher than the comparable non-performing loan ratios at conventional banks.

Moody's upgrades Qatar International Islamic Bank issuer ratings and changes outlook to stable

Moody's Investors Service has today upgraded Qatar International Islamic Bank's (QIIB) long term and short term issuer rating to A2/Prime-1 from A3/Prime-2, and changed baseline credit assessment (BCA) and adj. BCA to baa3 from ba1. Moody's also changed the outlook on the bank's long term ratings to stable. At the same time, Moody's assigned a new Counterparty Risk Assessment of A1 to QIIB. Moody's rating action reflects QIIB's improved and consistently strong asset quality performance and its solid capitalisation, liquidity and funding profile. These strengths are moderated by high borrower and sector concentrations, risk management challenges stemming from rapid financing growth and margin pressures driving a modest decline in profitability.

Moody’s assigns A3 to Malaysia Sovereign Sukuk’s debt notes

Moody's Investors Service has assigned definitive A3 senior unsecured ratings to the US dollar trust certificates issued by Malaysia Sovereign Sukuk Bhd, a special purpose vehicle established by the government. Moody's said on Wednesday its definitive ratings for these debt obligations confirmed the provisional ratings assigned on April 6. The A3 rating assigned to the sukuk is at the same level as the long-term local-currency and foreign-currency issuer ratings of the Government of Malaysia. The proceeds of the sukuk will be used by the issuer to invest in the purchase of an asset pool consisting of Ijara assets, the right to participate in the provision of transportation services in Malaysia, and Shariah-compliant commodities.

Moody's downgrades three Bahraini banks' ratings to Baa3/Prime-3, negative outlook

Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded to Baa3/Prime-3 from Baa2/Prime-2 the deposit, issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings of three Bahraini Banks: BBK B.S.C., National Bank of Bahrain BSC, and Bahrain Development Bank B.S.C. Concurrently, Moody's downgraded the baseline credit assessments (BCAs) of BBK and National Bank of Bahrain to ba1 from baa3. These actions follow Moody's downgrade of Bahrain's government bond ratings to Baa3 from Baa2 on 16 April 2015 and reflect (1) the government's reduced capacity of support, and (2) the challenges in view of weaker economic growth. The negative outlooks assigned to the Baa3 long-term ratings of the three banks are aligned with the negative outlook on the government's Baa3 bond rating.

Moody's assigns (P)A3 to Sharjah Islamic Bank's Sukuk Programme; outlook stable

Moody's Investors Service has assigned a provisional (P)A3 senior unsecured (foreign and local currency) MTN rating to the $3 billion Trust Certificates Issuance Program of SIB Sukuk Company III Limited, a special purpose vehicle incorporated in the Cayman Islands by Sharjah Islamic Bank PJSC (SIB). The outlook on the issuer is stable. The (P) A3 rating assigned to the Sukuk trust certificates is at the same level as the A3 foreign and local currency issuer rating of SIB. The proceeds of each issue of Certificates will be used by the Issuer to acquire an ownership interest in a portfolio of assets. Upon a conclusive review of the transaction and associated documentation, Moody's will endeavour to assign definitive ratings to any issue of Certificates.

Moody's: 2015 Outlook for GCC banks stable, negative for rest of MENA region

The 2015 outlook for GCC banks is stable, but it is negative for those in the rest of the MENA region, says Moody's Investors Service. The stable outlook for GCC banks is driven by strong operating conditions coupled with expansionary fiscal policies and continued infrastructure spending, which remain supportive of credit growth. However, declining oil prices if prolonged at these levels will reduce fiscal surpluses, affect economic confidence and moderate growth expectations. The negative outlook for the rest of the MENA region reflects more subdued credit growth and unsettled domestic environments, which translate into high credit risks. In addition the high exposure to low-rated government securities links non-GCC banks' credit profiles to their respective sovereigns.

Moody's: Positive outlook for Islamic Insurance

According to the Qatar Islamic Insurance Company (QIIC) the ratings agency Moody's Investors Service has affirmed its insurance financial strength rating (IFSR) 'Baa2'. It changed from “Stable” to “Positive”. This is based on the ongoing strong performance. Moody’s here see the reflection of the very strong capitalization in relation to the insurance risk. A sustained strong profitability on the underwriting average Return on Capital and the average combined Ratio was another reason. QIIC is one of the world’s leading Islamic insurance companies. The company recorded a 3 percent increase in gross contributions in 2013. This was largely driven by an increase in General Accident, Takaful Life and Health business.

Moody's confirms Bahrain Islamic Bank's supported issuer ratings and downgrades standalone ratings

Moody's Investors Service has confirmed Bahrain Islamic Bank's (BIsB) supported issuer ratings at Ba3, with a negative outlook, and affirmed its short term ratings at Not Prime. At the same time, Moody's downgraded BIsB's standalone bank financial strength rating (BFSR) by one notch to E from E+, equivalent to a baseline credit assessment (BCA) of caa1 from b3 previously. Moody's downgrade of the standalone credit profile reflects BIsB's still thin and vulnerable capital base, given the continued lack of clarity surrounding the timing, nature and amount of the anticipated capital injection. These weaknesses are partially moderated by BIsB's solid funding and liquidity position.The negative outlook on the supported issuer rating is aligned with negative outlook on the ratings of the Government of Bahrain, the ultimate provider of systemic support to the bank.

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