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15 Apr 2014
London, 15 April 2014 -- The outlook for Uzbekistan's banking system remains stable,
says Moody's Investors Service in a new report published today.
The outlook is underpinned by the country's persistently strong
economic growth, as banks channel high levels of investment from
the cash-rich central government into the economy. Other
key drivers include Uzbek banks' robust earnings which generate
capital to fund some of their loan growth. In addition, Moody's
leading asset-quality indicators suggest stable trends for problem
The new report: "Banking System Outlook: Uzbekistan",
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.
Uzbekistan has achieved a decade of annual growth exceeding 6%,
with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasting real GDP growth
of 7.0% in 2014. The rating agency highlights that
economic growth has been much less volatile than in some other members
of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), as Uzbekistan's
commodity exports are relatively diversified, and the government
uses export revenues to fund public spending.
Moody's notes positively the stability of commodity prices (cotton,
natural gas and wheat) that represent the rating agency's leading
indicators for asset quality in Uzbekistan, and based on historical
correlations, capital-investment trends also bode well for
asset quality. The rating agency expects the average ratio of problem
loans to total gross loans to remain in the range of 6%-7%
in the next 12 to 18 months. However, loan-loss reserves
(as per IFRS) set aside by Uzbek banks have historically covered only
around 50% of problem loans, which Moody's regards
Under Moody's central scenario assuming more prudent provisioning
charges and 20% loan growth, rated banks' Basel I capital
adequacy ratio (CAR) would fall to 11.6% during the next
12-18 months, from the rating agency's estimate of
13.9% as of year-end 2013. While this outcome
would still result in an acceptable level of capital, Moody's
believes that in order to preserve the current statutory total CAR levels
in line with loan growth, rated banks would need -- in aggregate
-- to raise an additional $250 million of new capital in 2014-15.
Over the 12-18 month outlook period, Uzbek banks will be
exposed to risks associated with rapid loan growth that will, in
turn, reduce capital buffers in the system. In addition,
Uzbekistan's banking system is vulnerable to structural weaknesses
such as underdeveloped corporate governance and a high degree of state
intervention in banks' business activities and pricing policies.
Uzbek banks also have high borrower concentrations, and short-term
corporate deposits account for the majority of customer funding.
Uzbek banks' operating profits are among the highest in the CIS
aided by robust fees and commissions which contribute close to 40%
of operating revenues. Over the outlook horizon, Moody's
expects Uzbek banks' profitability to remain stable thanks to continued
strong economic growth, with return on average assets remaining
around 1.5% and return on average equity in the range of
13% to 15%.
Moody's expects Uzbek banks' liquidity to remain stable over
the outlook horizon. Liquid assets, mostly cash held at the
central bank, accounted for more than 30% of total assets
as of the end of 2013. The high loan-to-deposit ratio,
at 140% as of the end of 2013, reflects the composition of
funding in the system; corporate and retail deposits only comprised
about 60% of Uzbek banks' non-equity funding as at
year-end 2013, while stable financing from the Uzbek government
amounted to about 20% and funding from international financial
institutions around 10%.
Any uplift to Uzbek banks' ratings from systemic support is limited,
reflecting the government's history of providing support that is
not always full and timely and tends to be biased towards liquidity assistance.
If support to banks' capital is required, the government often
opts for regulatory forbearance.
Subscribers can access this report via this link: https://www.moodys.com/research/Banking-System-Outlook-Uzbekistan--PBC_166815
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Olga G Ulyanova
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Moody's: Uzbekistan's banking system outlook remains stable
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