Moody’s credit rating agency changed the outlook of three Bahraini banks from stable to negative. The agency changed Bahrain’s outlook to negative at the end of last April.
The agency said that its decision included the three banks National Bank of Bahrain BSC (NBB), Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait B.S.C. (BBK) and Bahrain Islamic Bank B.S.C. (BISB.
Moody’s credit rating agency had revised Bahrain’s outlook to negative from stable, while affirming the sovereign rating at B2.
The agency attributed the change of Bahrain’s outlook to risks arising from financial weakness that is greater than expected.
“The negative outlook assigned on the long-term ratings of NBB, BBK, and BISB mirrors the negative outlook assigned to Bahrain government’s issuer rating,” the agency said in statement.
“The negative outlook on the banks’ ratings also captures the strong interlinkages between the banks’ standalone creditworthiness and the credit profile of the sovereign given their large direct government exposures making them subject to event risk”.
That being said the agency said, “the outlook on the banks’ long-term ratings could change to stable if Bahrain’s B2 sovereign rating outlook is changed to stable”.
During 2020, the country’s fiscal deficit expanded to 18% of GDP, up from 9% in 2019, in conjunction with losses due to the pandemic and the drop in oil prices. This caused government debt to rise to 130% of GDP in 2020, from 102. % In 2019 and 95% in 2018, according to the agency.
Moody’s also expects the fiscal deficit to remain in the range of 10% of GDP in the next two years, with the debt burden rising to 140% of GDP by 2023.
It should also be noted that Moody’s is a holding company, founded by John Moody in 1909. The company owns the Moody’s Investors Service, which conducts economic research, financial analysis, and evaluation of private and government institutions in terms of financial and credit strength.
Moody’s controls nearly 40% of the global credit rating market.