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Thu 8 Jan 2009 02:15 PM

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Moody's downgrades Bahrain bank outlooks

Agency changes outlook from stable to negative on foreign currency deposit ratings.

Moody's Investors Service has changed its outlook from stable to negative on the A2 long-term foreign currency deposit ratings of two of Bahrain’s largest commercial banks, the National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) and BBK, the international ratings agency said on Thursday.

"This rating action follows the change in outlook on Bahrain's A2 foreign currency deposit ceiling to negative from stable on 6 January, 2009,” said George Chrysaphinis, a Moody's vice president and lead analyst for these two issuers.

“NBB and BBK both have foreign currency deposit ratings situated at the A2 ceiling for such ratings in Bahrain, and this ceiling constrains the ratings of both the banks," added Chrysaphinis.

The foreign currency deposit ratings of other rated retail banks in Bahrain remain unaffected because they are unconstrained by the country's foreign currency deposit ceiling, according to Moody’s.

NBB and BBK assets totalled $5.43 billion and $5.80 billion respectively at the end of September 2008.

The banks' other ratings are unaffected by this action, Moody’s said.

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