TEXT-Fitch cuts Jordanian banks support ratings to '4'
Feb 23 - Fitch Ratings has downgraded Jordan-based Bank of Jordan (BOJ), Jordan Islamic Bank (JIB), The Housing Bank for Trade and Finance (HBTF), and Cairo Amman Bank's (CABK) Support Ratings to '4' from '3'. The Support Rating Floor for BOJ and JIB has been revised to 'B+' from 'BB-'. A full list of rating actions is at the end of this release. These rating actions reflect a weakening in the state of Jordan's creditworthiness. Higher domestic borrowing and dependence on foreign grants to meet public expenditure needs have weakened government finances. Such uncertainty is exacerbated by the volatile geopolitical situation in the region, namely the escalating unrest in neighbouring Syria, which is a concern for Jordan's economic growth prospects. The Support Ratings reflect Fitch's view of the limited probability of support from the Jordanian authorities if required. Fitch believes the state of Jordan has a strong propensity to support the banks given its supportive stance towards the domestic banking system. However, potential support is limited by the state's ability to do so. The rating actions are as follows: BOJ Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR): 'BB-'; Stable Outlook, unaffected Short-Term IDR: 'B', unaffected Viability Rating: 'bb-', unaffected Support Rating: downgraded to '4' from '3' Support Rating Floor: revised to 'B+' from 'BB-' JIB Long-Term IDR: 'BB-'; Stable Outlook, unaffected Short-Term IDR: 'B', unaffected Viability Rating: 'bb-', unaffected Support Rating: downgraded to '4' from '3' Support Rating Floor: revised to 'B+' from 'BB-' CABK Support Rating: downgraded to '4' from '3' HBTF Support Rating: downgraded to '4' from '3' Additional information is available at www.fitchratings.com. HBTF and CABK's ratings were unsolicited and have been provided by Fitch as a service to investors. All other ratings above were solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer, and therefore, Fitch has been compensated for the provision of the ratings. Applicable criteria, "Global Financial Institutions Rating Criteria", dated 16 August 2011, are available at www.fitchratings.com. Applicable Criteria and Related Research: Global Financial Institutions Rating Criteria
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