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Announcement:

Moody's: Greece's banking system outlook remains negative

01 Aug 2012

Limassol, August 01, 2012 -- The outlook on Greece's banking system remains negative, says Moody's Investors Service in a new Banking System Outlook published today. The negative outlook continues to reflect the rating agency's view that the stressed operating environment -- characterised by deep and prolonged economic contraction, elevated sovereign credit risk and fragile depositor confidence -- will continue to erode banks' asset quality, capital, profitability and funding.

The new report, entitled "Banking System Outlook: Greece", is now available on www.moodys.com. Moody's subscribers can access this report via the link provided at the end of this press release.

Following a -6.9% contraction in real GDP in 2011, Moody's expects that real GDP will contract by -7% in 2012 and -2.3% in 2013, exerting further pressure on the already stressed banking system. Declining purchasing power and liquidity of banks' retail and corporate customers -- exacerbated by reductions in government expenditures and increasing unemployment -- will continue to erode repayment capacity and constrain banks' business opportunities. In addition, Moody's says that although it is not its central scenario, the risk of Greece exiting the euro area remains material. If it were to occur, an exit would trigger acute economic dislocations and severe downside consequences for the banking system.

Moody's believes that the Greek banking sector will remain loss-making in 2012 and 2013, following record losses in 2011 mainly due to the Greek government debt-exchange. Economic contraction and asset deleveraging will lead to lower business volumes, affecting top-line revenues, while high provisioning requirements will erode bottom line results. Moody's says that the banks' cost-cutting initiatives and profitable operations in South-Eastern Europe will not be strong enough to reverse these trends.

The Greek government debt-exchange in March 2012 depleted the banks' capital bases, rendering them economically insolvent and generating immediate recapitalisation needs of around €30 billion. Taking into account additional losses on banks' loan books, Moody's central scenario indicates that total capital requirements could reach up to €40-50 billion over the outlook horizon (or around 20% of Greece's 2011 GDP). Moody's expects the bulk of these capital funds to come from the EU and the IMF via a €50 billion commitment to the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), which has already disbursed €18 billion to the four largest banks.

Moody's expects that Greek banks will remain locked-out of the wholesale and interbank markets and continue to face further deposit outflows over the coming 12-18 months. Private-sector deposits declined by 36.7% (or by €87.2 billion) from their peak in September 2009 through June 2012, with an acceleration of deposit outflows in May and June 2012 due to the inconclusive outcome of the first round of elections. Prolonged economic contraction, fragile investor sentiment and susceptibility to event risk all indicate that the risk of accelerated deposit outflows remains high.

Declining deposits and restricted collateral availability for ECB funding has also meant that banks have increased their emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) reliance from Bank of Greece over the last six months and Moody's expects that this trend will continue. On 20 July, the ECB suspended the eligibility as collateral of bonds issued or guaranteed by the Greek government, pending Troika's progress report on Greece under the second support programme, increasing further Greek banks' ELA reliance.

Subscribers can access this report via this link: http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_143899

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information, please call one of our global press information hotlines: London +44-20-7772-5456, New York +1-212-553-0376, Tokyo +813-5408-4110, Hong Kong +852-3758-1350, Sydney +61-2-9270-8141, Mexico City 001-888-779-5833, São Paulo 0800-891-2518, or Buenos Aires 0800-666-3506. You can also email us at mediarelations@moodys.com or visit our web site at www.moodys.com.

Nondas?Nicolaides
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Cyprus Ltd.
Kanika Business Centre
319 28th October Avenue
PO Box 53205
Limassol CY 3301
Cyprus
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Yves?J?Lemay
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Cyprus Ltd.
Kanika Business Centre
319 28th October Avenue
PO Box 53205
Limassol CY 3301
Cyprus
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's: Greece's banking system outlook remains negative
No Related Data.
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