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Announcement:

Moody's: Argentine banking system outlook changed to positive as economy strengthens

 The document has been translated in other languages

26 Apr 2017

Buenos Aires City, April 26, 2017 -- Moody's Investors Service has changed its outlook on the Argentine Banking system to positive from stable, following its decision last month to change the outlook on Argentina's B3 sovereign bond rating to positive from stable. The outlook on the banking system had been stable since 2015.

Argentina's banks will be buoyed by an improving economy as an increase in consumption and investment helps drive growth and inflation slows. Moody's expects Argentina's economy to grow by about 3% in 2017 and 3.5% in 2018, the fastest expansion since late 2000.

"This improved backdrop will create new business opportunities for banks and financial institutions, and will ease their transition into a more competitive, market-driven operating environment," said Valeria Azconegui, a Vice President and Senior Analyst at Moody's.

Capital inflows should help thaw business spending, and falling inflation should support gains in borrowers' purchasing power and open the door for easier monetary policy. That in turn should kindle demand for credit among both corporates and consumers.

While an increase in lenders' risk appetite will lead to a modest deterioration in asset quality, non-performing loans will rise from a very low base. In addition, capital will remain relatively strong by Latin American standards despite continued rapid nominal loan growth and falling profitability.

Falling interest rates will weigh on bank profitability by reducing interest income and leading to lower returns on banks' securities holdings. In addition, credit costs are likely to increase in line with delinquencies, though they should remain manageable.

In nominal terms, these profitability pressures will outweigh growing business volumes and increased fee- revenues. Nevertheless, profitability is likely to improve on an inflation-adjusted basis.

Although cross-border funding will continue to increase following the country's recent return to global capital markets, banks will remain primarily funded with retail deposits and risks associated with cross-border funding will be limited.

The government's capacity to support banks in times of stress is also strengthening as its fiscal position improves. Moody's considers that the government remains willing to support the most systemically important banks.

Moody's subscribers can access the report "Banking System Outlook Update -- Argentina; An improved policy framework and strengthening growth prospects support the positive outlook," at http://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1068601

************************************************************************

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This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

Maria Valeria Azconegui
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Latin America ACR
Ing. Butty 240
16th Floor
Buenos Aires City C1001AFB
Argentina
JOURNALISTS: 800 666 3506
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

M. Celina Vansetti
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Latin America ACR
Ing. Butty 240
16th Floor
Buenos Aires City C1001AFB
Argentina
JOURNALISTS: 800 666 3506
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

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