Top Bahraini banks face possible downgrade

Moody’s Investors Service said it has placed four Bahraini banks – National Bank of Bahrain (NBB), BBK, BMI Bank and Bahrain Islamic Bank (BIsB) – on review for possible downgrade of its deposit, issuer and senior debt ratings. As part of the same rating action, Moody’s has also placed on review for downgrade the standalone bank financial strength rating (BFSR) of BIsB. Moody’s decision comes following the potential weakening in the sovereign’s capacity to provide support to the banks, as signaled by the agency’s decision to place the Baa1 Bahraini government bond rating on review for possible downgrade. The sovereign review was prompted by the fiscal implications of Bahrain’s high and rising break-even oil price; the outlook for lower trend economic growth in the country over the medium term and the impact of a low-growth, high government expenditure and weaker oil price scenario on Bahrain’s long-term debt sustainability.

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