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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades Cyprus's government bond ratings to Ba3 from Ba1; on review for further downgrade

 The document has been translated in other languages

Global Credit Research - 13 Jun 2012

London, 13 June 2012 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded Cyprus's government bond ratings by two notches to Ba3 from Ba1, and has placed the ratings on review for further possible downgrade.

The key driver for today's rating action is the material increase in the likelihood of a Greek exit from the euro area, and the resulting increase in the likely amount of support that the government may have to extend to Cypriot banks. The two-notch downgrade reflects Moody's assessment that this risk is exacerbated by the fact that the country's finances are already strained and access to the international markets is still denied.

Moody's decision to maintain Cyprus's sovereign bond ratings on review for further downgrade reflects the need to assess the substantial downside risks to the banking sector and the sovereign as a result of a Greek euro exit. These risks have the potential to rise in the aftermath of the Greek elections on 17 June 2012.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The key driver of Moody's two-notch downgrade of Cyprus's government bond rating is the significant deterioration in the country's outlook as a result of the material increase in the likelihood of a Greek exit from the euro area. The immediate result is a further increase in the likely amount of government support that the Cypriot banks may require due to their exposure to the Greek government and economy as well as the deterioration in domestic macroeconomic conditions.

Moody's prior Ba1 rating for Cyprus incorporated an assumption that the Cypriot government would need to contribute capital support equivalent to around 5-10% of GDP to the country's banks. The rating agency now expects this to be materially higher. For Cyprus Popular Bank alone, Moody's expects most, if not all, of the €1.8 billion in recapitalisation costs to be borne by the government, which will increase debt levels by just over 10 percentage points of GDP.

Moody's has reflected the increased risks emanating from the increased likelihood of a Greek exit in the ratings of the three largest Cypriot banks, two of which were downgraded on 12 June 2012, with all banks being placed on review for further downgrade. The close linkage between the government and the banking sector means that these increased risks for the banks may lead to much larger recapitalisation costs to the government, and Moody's needs to reflect these in the Cypriot sovereign's ratings.

FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED IN THE REVIEW

The review will primarily focus on developments in Greece and how these may translate into heightened risks for Cypriot banks' solvency and liquidity, as well as any contingency measures that the banks and the government of Cyprus may take to address these risks. The political situation in Greece remains fluid and Moody's considers that the risk of a Greek exit from the euro area may increase further following the Greek parliamentary elections on 17 June.

As part of the review, Moody's will also assess any plan by the government to seek external funding from the euro area to provide liquidity support to the sovereign, much of which may be used to provide systemic support to the banking sector. The extent of this support and the conditionality that is attached to it would also be considered in the review.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Sovereign Bond Ratings published in September 2008. 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 relevant 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 relevant 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 relevant 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.

The rating has been disclosed to the rated entity or its designated agent(s) and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

Information sources used to prepare the rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings, parties not involved in the ratings, public information, and confidential and proprietary Moody's Investors Service information.

Moody's considers the quality of information available on the rated entity, obligation or credit satisfactory for the purposes of issuing a rating.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a rating is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Moody's Investors Service may have provided Ancillary or Other Permissible Service(s) to the rated entity or its related third parties within the two years preceding the credit rating action. Please see the special report "Ancillary or other permissible services provided to entities rated by MIS's EU credit rating agencies" on the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

Please see the ratings disclosure page on www.moodys.com for general disclosure on potential conflicts of interests.

Please see the ratings disclosure page on www.moodys.com for information on (A) MCO's major shareholders (above 5%) and for (B) further information regarding certain affiliations that may exist between directors of MCO and rated entities as well as (C) the names of entities that hold ratings from MIS that have also publicly reported to the SEC an ownership interest in MCO of more than 5%. A member of the board of directors of this rated entity may also be a member of the board of directors of a shareholder of Moody's Corporation; however, Moody's has not independently verified this matter.

Please see Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions on the Rating Process page on www.moodys.com for further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

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.

Sarah Carlson
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Sovereign Risk 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

Bart Oosterveld
MD - Sovereign Risk
Sovereign Risk Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

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 Cyprus's government bond ratings to Ba3 from Ba1; on review for further downgrade
No Related Data.

 

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