TEXT - Fitch says stable outlook for Canadian banks for 2013
Nov 14 - The outlook for the major Canadian banks is stable for 2013, reflecting consistent earnings performance and generally stable financial profiles, according to Fitch Ratings. Fitch's outlook further reflects the ongoing solid profitability among the Canadian banks. Profitability continues to be supported by a diversified business mix and comparatively low levels of credit costs associated with stable asset quality indicators. Fitch notes, however, that earnings growth will likely moderate in 2013 as future earnings performance will come against a less favorable economic environment. Elevated levels of household debt and possible deterioration in the Canadian housing market remain the key credit concerns for the sector. Fitch views the major Canadian banks as having sufficient capital cushion to absorb some levels of deterioration in the housing market. Steady growth in personal and mortgage loans has resulted in record levels of consumer indebtedness and leaves Canadian households much more exposed to an adverse shock than in previous periods. Ratings could come under pressure should borrowers' ability to pay weaken due to a worsening of domestic or global economic conditions. The full report '2013 Outlook: Canadian Banks' is available at 'www.fitchratings.com.'