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Fri 29 May 2009 03:31 PM

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Bahrain's central bank welcomes Fitch ratings on Kingdom

Fitch gives stable outlooks for Bahrain's long-term foreign & local currency IDRs.

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has welcomed a new global vote of confidence for Bahrain’s economic performance and management of the domestic economy, it said on Thursday.

International rating agency, Fitch, reaffirmed Bahrain’s long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at “A” and long-term local currency IDR at “A+”, both with stable outlooks.

The Country Ceiling is also affirmed at “A+”. Continuous growth in Bahrain’s non-oil sector as well as enhanced political and economic reforms were taken into account by Fitch for the rating reaffirmation.

“Bahrain’s economy has grown by 6.3% in constant prices in 2008,” said Rasheed Al Maraj, the governor of Bahrain’s central bank said in a press release. “The financial sector remains the largest contributor to the economy representing around 27% of real GDP,” he added.

In 2008, the value added of the financial sector to the economy in real terms has grown by 5.6% despite the financial turmoil.

“We are very pleased to welcome this reaffirmation of Bahrain’s sovereign credit rating, especially in light of the current international market situation, and the sharp decline in oil prices in comparison to last year,” said Al Maraj.

“This rating is a testament to the Kingdom’s strong position as the regional centre for banking and finance. The CBB, on its part, will continue its robust, yet market-friendly, regulation and supervision of the financial services industry, to support the Government’s many economic initiatives, with the ultimate goal of improving the standard of living of all citizens.”