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NEWS

Moody's maintains stable outlook on Uzbekistan's banking system

www.timesca.com
4 August 2016

Moody's Investors Service is maintaining its stable outlook on the Uzbek banking system, reflecting its expectation that operating conditions for Uzbekistan's banks will stay accommodative, Uzbekistan's official information agency Jahon reported citing Moody's. 

The outlook expresses Moody's expectation of how bank creditworthiness will evolve in Uzbekistan over the next 12-18 months.
"Uzbekistan's banks continue to benefit from a growing economy with well-diversified export revenues," the agency quotes Olga Ulyanova, a Vice President and Senior Analyst at Moody's. "As a result, banks in Uzbekistan are somewhat shielded from the volatility characteristic of some other countries in the CIS." 
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts real GDP growth of 5% for Uzbekistan in 2016, with growth supported by increasing gas exports to China, strong domestic demand from continued public infrastructure spending, and wage increases. 
As a result of this benign operating environment, Moody's expects problem loans to remain stable over the outlook period at 4%-5% of total loans. In addition, the rating agency does not expect sector-wide credit losses to exceed 1.5% of banks' average gross loans over the next 12-18 months, in annualised terms. 
Uzbek banks' problem loan ratio declined to 3.5% at year-end 2015 from 3.9% a year earlier, owing largely to nearly 25% loan growth over this period. 
Funding and liquidity metrics for the country's banks will stay stable, underpinned by domestic customer deposits and long-term government funding. 
Profits for Uzbek banks will likely continue to be healthy over the outlook period, according to Moody's, as continued strong borrowing demand boosts net interest income, and fee and commission income also remains solid.