Rating agency lowers outlook for six Gulf banks

02 November 2008
Rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has lowered its outlook on six Gulf banks from positive to stable as a result of the slowing regional economy.

The revised outlook affects the rating of:

  • Emirates International Group and National Bank of Dubai (now merged as Emirates NBD)

  • Kuwait Finance House

  • Burgan Bank

  • Bank Muscat

  • BMI Bank.

The agency said: “Growth prospects are weaker than previously anticipated because liquidity has declined and funding costs are set to remain higher than in the past.

“Expected lower loan growth could ultimately put pressure on some sectors of the GCC economies and accelerate the correction in the real estate sector, which would inflate banks' cost of risk.”

The banks are still highly rated, between A and BBB-, and S&P said it expected the GCC governments to be interventionist in supporting any banks where necessary.

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