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Rating Action:

Moody's concludes review on ICBC Macau and assigns CR Assessment

 The document has been translated in other languages

12 Jun 2015

Action conclude methodology-related review

Hong Kong, June 12, 2015 -- Moody's Investors Service has today concluded its review on the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Macau) Limited (ICBC Macau). This review was initiated on 17 March 2015 (see press release at https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-reviews-global-bank-ratings--PR_321005), following the publication of Moody's new bank rating methodology (see "Banks," 16 March 2015, available at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_179038).

Moody's has affirmed ICBC Macau's baseline credit assessment (BCA) at baa3, lowered its adjusted BCA to baa2 from a2, and affirmed the bank's deposit ratings at A2/P-1. The bank's deposit notes/CD program are also affirmed at (P)A2/(P)P-1. The change in the bank's adjusted BCA is driven by changes in support assumptions in Moody's new bank rating methodology. Moody's has also assigned A1(cr)/P-1(cr) Counterparty Risk (CR) assessments to ICBC Macau. The outlook on the bank's ratings is stable.

For more information on the new bank rating methodology, please see Moody's press release at

https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-reviews-global-bank-ratings--PR_321005.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The new methodology includes a number of elements that Moody's has developed to help accurately predict bank failures and determine how each creditor class is likely to be treated when a bank fails and enters resolution. These new elements capture insights gained from the crisis and the fundamental shift in the banking industry and its regulation.

Moody's rating actions on ICBC Macau take into account its 'Strong' Macro Profile, its adequate financial metrics, and changes in affiliate and government support considerations under Moody's revised Banks methodology.

(1) ICBC MACAU'S "STRONG" MACRO PROFILE

ICBC Macau's "strong" macro profile reflects the macro profiles of Macao, Hong Kong, and China, given the bank's loan geographical distribution.

Macao has experienced rapid economic growth over the past decade. The economy and the banking sector have large net external claims and the government's fiscal strength provides buffers against domestic and external event risks. However, these strengths are partially offset by risks associated with the territory's fast credit growth, rapid increases in property prices, its small economy and high dependence on the gaming industry.

Hong Kong has a mature economy with strong institutional strengths and low susceptibility to potential event risks. However, fast credit growth in recent years, high levels of private sector borrowing and elevated property prices weigh negatively on the territory's macro profile.

Although China has maintained consistently strong economic growth over the past two decades, its weaker institutional and legal framework, rapid credit growth since 2008, and increasing competition in the banking industry weigh negatively on Moody's assessment of its macro profile.

(2) ICBC MACAU'S ADEQUATE FINANCIAL PROFILES

ICBC Macau's baa3 BCA reflects its adequate solvency and liquidity profiles, and takes into accounts risks to the bank operating in Macau's relatively small and open economy with high dependence on gaming and tourism.

ICBC Macau has maintained good asset quality metrics on its customer loans. Strong economic growth, fast-rising property prices, and tight labor market conditions in Macau have contributed to the bank's good asset quality metrics. Nevertheless, the bank has a high concentration of lending to the hotel operators in Macau, and the rapid run-up in property prices also poses risks to the bank's residential mortgage and personal lending book.

ICBC Macau maintains adequate capitalization and sound profitability. The bank's parent Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (deposits A1 stable, BCA baa2) has announced a planned equity injection that amounts to one quarter of the bank's end-2014 book equity. While the capital injection will bolster the bank's overall credit profile, its positive impact is partially offset by Moody's concerns over declining tourist arrivals in Macau, falling gaming revenue, and potential pricing pressure on the gaming and hotel operators as new projects are completed.

Although ICBC Macau is predominantly deposit-funded, there is a higher degree of deposit concentration on the bank than most of its peers in the region, which weighs on the bank's liquidity profile.

(3) CHANGE IN AFFILIATE AND GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FRAMEWORK

Under the new Banks methodology, Moody's incorporates parental support for ICBC Macau by referencing the parent's BCA as support anchor, instead of referencing the parent's deposit rating as was the case under the previous methodology. The change in affiliate support framework led to the downgrade of ICBC Macau's adjusted BCA to baa2 from a2. Nevertheless, Moody's assumes that the importance of ICBC Macau to its parent, combined with Macau's status as a Special Administrative Region of China, means that extraordinary support from the Chinese government to the parent bank in times of distress would likely extend to ICBC Macau. The affirmation of ICBC Macau's A2/P-1 deposit ratings takes into account the assumption of very strong indirect government support from China.

ASSIGNMENT OF COUNTERPARTY RISK ASSESSMENTS

Moody's has also assigned CR Assessments to ICBC Macau. CR Assessments are opinions of how counterparty obligations are likely to be treated if a bank fails, and are distinct from debt and deposit ratings in that they (1) consider only the risk of default rather than expected loss and (2) apply to counterparty obligations and contractual commitments rather than debt or deposit instruments. The CR Assessment is an opinion of the counterparty risk related to a bank's covered bonds, contractual performance obligations (servicing), derivatives (e.g., swaps), letters of credit, guarantees and liquidity facilities.

The CR Assessment takes into account the issuer's standalone strength as well as the likelihood of affiliate and government support in the event of need, reflecting the anticipated seniority of these obligations in the liabilities hierarchy. The CR Assessment also incorporates other steps authorities can take to preserve the key operations of a bank should it enter a resolution.

For ICBC Macau, the CR Assessment is positioned, prior to government support, one notch above the Adjusted BCA and therefore above the deposit ratings, reflecting Moody's view that its probability of default is lower than that of deposits. Moody's believes senior obligations represented by the CRA will be more likely preserved in order to limit contagion, minimize losses and avoid disruption of critical functions. For ICBC Macau, the CR Assessment also benefits from systemic support, in line with our support assumptions on deposits. This reflects Moody's view that any support provided by governmental authorities to the bank which benefits deposits is very likely to benefit operating activities and obligations reflected by the CR Assessment as well, consistent with our belief that governments are likely to maintain such operations as a going-concern in order to reduce contagion and preserve a bank's critical functions.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

ICBC Macau's deposit ratings could be upgraded if the parent's ratings are upgraded or if Moody's considers indirect government support as more likely than currently assumed.

The BCA may be raised if the bank can maintain sound asset quality metrics through an economic downturn and a significant correction in the local property market, with NPLs staying below 1.5% of gross loans, while the bank maintains sound capitalization with a tangible common equity/RWA ratio consistently above 12%.

ICBC Macau's deposit ratings could be downgraded if the likelihood of parental support or indirect systemic support diminishes.

The bank's BCA may be adjusted lower if capitalization weakens with tangible common equity/RWA ratio falling below 10%, asset quality deteriorates materially with NPL ratio above 3%, or if the loan-to-deposit ratio rises to above 100%.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in March 2015. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

The first name below is the lead rating analyst for this Credit Rating and the last name below is the person primarily responsible for approving this Credit Rating.

Sonny Hsu, CFA
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd.
24/F One Pacific Place
88 Queensway
Hong Kong
China (Hong Kong S.A.R.)
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Stephen Long
MD - Financial Institutions
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd.
24/F One Pacific Place
88 Queensway
Hong Kong
China (Hong Kong S.A.R.)
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Moody's concludes review on ICBC Macau and assigns CR Assessment
No Related Data.
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