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Announcement:

Moody's maintains stable outlook on Singapore banks due to healthy economy, strong bank fundamentals

04 Jun 2018

Singapore, June 04, 2018 -- Moody's Investors Service says that the outlook for the banking system in Singapore (Aaa stable) is stable over the next 12-18 months.

"Healthy economic growth will support the banks' asset quality, while higher interest rates and a decrease in impairment allowances will lift profitability," says Eugene Tarzimanov, a Moody's Vice President and Senior Credit Officer.

"The banking system's strong capital levels, as well as funding and liquidity indicate that the banks can comfortably support credit growth, which we expect will increase in 2018-19," adds Tarzimanov.

Moody's conclusions are contained in its just-released report on Singapore banks titled, "Banking System Outlook - Singapore: Healthy economy and strong bank fundamentals underpin stable outlook," and is authored by Tarzimanov.

The stable outlook is based on Moody's assessment of six drivers: operating environment (stable); asset risk (stable); capital (stable); funding and liquidity (stable); profitability and efficiency (improving); and systemic support (stable).

On the operating environment, Moody's says that the stable environment will be supported by healthy economic conditions in and outside Singapore. Moody's expects Singapore's real GDP growth to moderate to 3.0% in 2018 and 2.5% in 2019 from 3.6% in 2017, with the lower pace in 2018-19 still representing solid economic expansion. Domestic credit growth will accelerate to about 7% in 2018 from 5% in 2017.

With asset quality, Moody's says that the banks' asset quality will stay stable, as new problem loan formation levels normalize. Asset quality will be supported by benign macro conditions, higher oil prices and mild increases in interest rates. And, corporate and household debt metrics will be stable.

As for capitalization, Moody's says that such levels will remain strong. A faster build-up in risk-weighted assets because of stronger credit growth will be balanced by improved internal capital generation.

Moody's also says that the banks' funding and liquidity levels will continue to constitute strengths. Rated Singapore banks show stable loan-to-deposit ratios well below 100%, which gives them ample room to support faster loan growth. They also demonstrate a low level of reliance on wholesale funding and a high proportion of liquid assets; factors which limit their refinancing risks.

On profitability, Moody's says the banks' profitability levels will increase on margin improvements, with lower credit costs and higher non-interest income. Moody's explains that as interest rates in Singapore rise — in tandem with monetary policy tightening in the US — the banks' interest margins will improve. This situation, together with lower credit costs, stronger loan growth and growth in non-interest income, will result in improved profitability.

As for government support for the banks, Moody's says that such support will stay strong for the three largest domestic banking groups. The banks are important to Singapore's economy, and the government demonstrates strong fiscal strength and ample reserves.

Moody's points out that Singapore will soon enact an enhanced resolution regime for the banks, but such a regime will not subject the banks' existing and prospective senior creditors and depositors to bail-in, which means the government will provide strong support for the largest banks if needed. However, local subsidiaries of large foreign banks might be primarily supported through a bail-in of internal total loss-absorbing capacity instruments issued to their parents.

Moody's rates Singapore's three largest banking groups by assets: DBS Bank Ltd., Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd (OCBC) and United Overseas Bank Limited. Moody's also rates Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited and Bank of Singapore Limited, a subsidiary of OCBC. These five banks accounted for 54% of domestic loans and 67% of deposits in the system at the end of 2017.

Moody's has maintained a stable outlook on the Singapore banking system since May 2017.

The stable outlook for Singapore's banking system is in line with the stable outlooks for all Moody's-rated banks in Singapore except Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited, whose ratings are on review for downgrade following the announcement of a business reorganization.

Subscribers can access the full report at:

http://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1125129

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 mediarelations@moodys.com or visit our web site at www.moodys.com.

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 www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

Eugene Tarzimanov
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.
50 Raffles Place #23-06
Singapore Land Tower
Singapore 48623
Singapore
JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350
Client Service: 852 3551 3077

Graeme Knowd
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 81 3 5408 4110
Client Service: 81 3 5408 4100

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.
50 Raffles Place #23-06
Singapore Land Tower
Singapore 48623
Singapore
JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350
Client Service: 852 3551 3077

No Related Data.
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