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Moody's: Outlook for Japan's banking system is stable, although challenges apparent

 The document has been translated in other languages

16 Oct 2018

Tokyo, October 16, 2018 -- Moody's Japan K.K. says that its outlook for Japan's banking system is stable, as it has been since 2012, reflecting the expectation that the banks will continue to have strong liquidity at home and sufficient capital, even though pressure on profitability will persist and asset risks are slowly increasing.

"Support will come from a stable operating environment, and we forecast that Japan's GDP will continue to increase, by 1.1% in 2018 and 1.0% in 2019, while the unemployment rate will decline further," says Tetsuya Yamamoto, a Moody's Vice President and Senior Credit Officer.

"Japan's continued accommodative monetary policy will help the economy sustain growth and, if the Bank of Japan (BOJ) tightens monetary policy, which we do not expect to occur during this outlook period, higher rates will help increase interest income for banks," says Yamamoto.

Moody's conclusions are contained in its recently released "Banking System Outlook - Japan: Domestic liquidity and sufficient capital support stable outlook but risks linger".

The report assesses the key drivers for the outlook as follows: operating environment, stable; asset risk, stable; capital, stable; profitability and efficiency, deteriorating; funding and liquidity, stable; and government support, stable.

Asset quality will remain strong, helped by continued ultra-low interest rates, but risks from real estate loans are accumulating for the regional banks, while overseas asset risks are increasing for the megabanks.

Capital ratios will remain largely stable, sustaining recent years' gains. Given a lack of strong loan growth, internal capital generation, as weak as it will be, will be sufficient to support capital ratios.

The deterioration in profitability will continue, but at a slower pace because the gap between interest rates on existing loans and those on new loans is narrowing as market rates stabilize. Pressure on profitability will further ease because of the BOJ's latest policy change that has created liquidity and increased volatility in the government bond market.

Domestic liquidity will remain ample but tightening foreign-currency liquidity is a risk. The megabanks are heavily reliant on wholesale funding for their overseas businesses. At the same time, they have increased deposits, but a large share of these are corporate deposits that are less stable than retail deposits.

Moody's rates 33 banks in Japan, which accounted for about 86% of Japan's total banking system assets as of the end of March 2018. They comprise 30 commercial banks and three government-related institutions.

The three megabank groups — Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG, A1 stable), Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc. (SMFG, A1 stable) and Mizuho Financial Group, Inc. (Mizuho, A1 stable) — hold about half of total system assets.

The rated banks' asset-weighted average Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) is baa1, and their average deposit rating is A1.

Subscribers can read the full report at

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information, please call one of our global press information hotlines: New York +1-212-553-0376, London +44-20-7772-5456, 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 or visit our web site at

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 for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

Tetsuya Yamamoto
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Japan K.K.
Atago Green Hills Mori Tower 20fl
2-5-1 Atago, Minato-ku
Tokyo 105-6220
JOURNALISTS: 81 3 5408 4110
Client Service: 81 3 5408 4100

Graeme Knowd
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350
Client Service: 852 3551 3077

Releasing Office:
Moody's Japan K.K.
Atago Green Hills Mori Tower 20fl
2-5-1 Atago, Minato-ku
Tokyo 105-6220
JOURNALISTS: 81 3 5408 4110
Client Service: 81 3 5408 4100

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