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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades Banco Angolano de Investimentos' deposit rating to B1; outlook negative

07 Dec 2015

London, 07 December 2015 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded the long-term local and foreign currency deposit ratings of Angola's Banco Angolano de Investimentos, S.A. (BAI) to B1 from Ba3, while also downgrading the bank's standalone baseline credit assessment (BCA) to b3 from b1 and Counterparty Risk Assessment to Ba3(cr) from Ba2(cr). Concurrently, Moody's affirmed the short-term local and foreign currency deposit ratings of Not-Prime and the short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment of Not-Prime(cr). All long-term ratings carry a negative outlook.

Today's rating action is driven by: (1) the ongoing tightening of foreign currency liquidity in Angola arising from lower dollar inflows in the context of low oil prices, (2) BAI's recent decision to introduce a limit on the amount of hard dollar currency (cash) that can be withdrawn on a weekly basis, underlining the bank's restricted access to hard dollar currency and (3) continued asset quality deterioration, owing to the weakening macroeconomic environment.

RATINGS RATIONALE

WEAKENING FUNDING CONDITIONS ACROSS THE ANGOLAN BANKING SYSTEM

A key driver of today's action is the reduction of oil-related deposits in the Angolan banking system due to lower oil prices. While Angola's (Ba2, negative) banks benefit from being predominantly deposit funded, dollar denominated deposits remain susceptible to oil price volatility due to the banking system's large exposure to the oil and gas sector. Accordingly, despite the system's high level of liquid assets and low dependence on confidence-sensitive wholesale funding, Moody's has lowered Angola's banking system's macro profile score from 'Very Weak +' to 'Very Weak' to take into account this ongoing tightening of foreign currency liquidity.

DOLLAR CASH SUPPLY CONSTRAINTS AND BANK DOLLAR CASH WITHDRAWAL LIMITS

A secondary driver of today's action is BAI's recent decision to place restrictions on cash withdrawals on dollar deposits and the expected negative implications for dollar deposit confidence going forward, which will hamper banks' efforts to attract foreign currency deposits and long term funding.

In recent weeks, foreign banks have stopped supplying physical dollars to their Angola-based bank clients. Subsequently, BAI and other Angolan banks have voluntarily limited weekly dollar cash withdrawals. While BAI has implemented these self-imposed restrictions to preserve the physical stock of dollars, there have been no restrictions on the electronic transfer of dollar balances between foreign and domestic banks -- as long as they remain within Banco Nacional de Angola's (BNA) existing limits on cross-border transfers. Moreover, we expect that BNA would step in should there be shortfalls in meeting legitimate dollar cash withdrawals.

WEAKENING OPERATING ENVIRONMENT WEIGHING ON ASSET QUALITY

Thirdly, the rating action also reflects ongoing deterioration in the bank's asset quality, with reported non-performing loans (NPLs) increasing to 12.8% as of September 2015 (despite loan write-offs which have risen 46% year-to-date as of September 2015), up from 11.7% at end-December 2014. Deterioration in asset quality, particularly in BAI's corporate loan book, is driven by the persistently low oil price environment, which continues to dampen near-term economic growth prospects and the sovereign's fiscal strength.

The Angolan economy remains vulnerable to its considerable dependence on oil which, although declining, is still significant. It accounted for up to 45% of nominal GDP, 72% of government revenues and over 90% of export receipts as of year end 2014. In response to declining oil revenues, the Angolan government has aggressively cut-back on capital expenditures, which is exerting negative pressure on the non-oil economy. Additional credit risks also stem from the bank's significant exposure to foreign currency loans (47% of the bank's total loans is in dollars) given the Kwanza's sharp devaluation in recent months (over 30% in 2015 YTD) and the high level of dollarization of the economy, which will put pressure on the earnings of borrowers already challenged by low commodity prices and weak economic growth.

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

The aforementioned negative developments are partially offset by Moody's view of the likelihood of support from the government of Angola (Ba2, negative) in a stress scenario. BAI's deposit ratings now incorporate two-notches of uplift from its standalone BCA, based on our assessment of a high probability of government support given the bank's importance in the financial system (around 17% market share in terms of deposits).

OUTLOOK

The outlook on the long-term ratings is negative. The negative outlook reflects the continued uncertainty, and downside risks, related to foreign currency liquidity and the risk of a further intensification of asset quality pressure.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

Although upward pressure on BAI's ratings is currently limited, substantial improvements in the domestic operating environment, and a normalization of foreign currency liquidity in the banking system, could prompt us to change the outlook on the bank's deposit ratings to stable.

Negative pressure could be exerted on BAI's ratings if (1) risks related to BAI's funding and liquidity intensify, including the imposition of tighter transfer or convertibility restrictions on foreign currency deposits, (2) there is a risk of an intensification of asset quality deterioration beyond the ability of profits to absorb increased credit costs; and/or (3) a further deterioration in the Angolan operating environment.

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.

Akin Majekodunmi
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Sean Marion
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's downgrades Banco Angolano de Investimentos' deposit rating to B1; outlook negative
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