Moody’s Investors Service has assigned speculative-grade credit ratings to the foreign currency deposits of four Tunisian banks. The four are Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie, Banque de Tunisie, Banque Nationale d’Agricole and Banque du Sud.

All four banks are rated Ba1 for long-term and Not Prime for short-term deposits. The first two institutions are assigned bank financial strength ratings of D and the latter two E – the lowest on the ratings agency’s scale.

The agency noted that economic liberalisation in Tunisia in recent years has created more freedom and more opportunities for the banks, though there are also risks associated with doing business in transitional economies.

It added that the country’s central bank has intervened in the past to provide liquidity to banks in trouble. ‘It is difficult to conceive of circumstances in which this support would not continue to be provided,’ the agency says. Moody’s’ last set of bank ratings in the Middle East were for Pakistan

(MEED 18:10:96).