The Asian Banker

Moody's: Cyprus's banking system outlook remains negative
Dec 04, 2012

Limassol, November 29th 2012 – The outlook for Cyprus's banking system remains negative, says Moody's Investors Service in a new Banking System Outlook published today. The outlook reflects (1) the likelihood of severe capital shortfalls, as the highly adverse operating environments in Cyprus and Greece, the banks' primary markets, will continue to drive a sharp deterioration in asset quality; and (2) further weakening of funding and liquidity, as evidenced by continued, significant deposit outflows in Greece and Cyprus. In Moody's view, ongoing funding and capital support from the local and euro area authorities will be necessary to avoid severe financial disruptions in Cyprus's banking system.

The new report, entitled "Banking System Outlook: Cyprus," is now available on Moody's subscribers can access this report via the link provided at the end of this press release.

Over the 12-18 month outlook period, Moody's expects the Cypriot banks to face substantial recapitalisation needs as a result of acute asset-quality pressure. The rating agency estimates that the cost of recapitalising the three largest banks to a 10% core Tier 1 will exceed EUR8 billion (around 47% of GDP). Although the two largest banks -- Bank of Cyprus Public Company Limited and Cyprus Popular Bank Public Co Ltd (both rated Caa1 deposits, on review for downgrade; BFSR E/BCA caa3) - continue to seek private-sector solutions, Moody's believes that the bulk of the recapitalisation will have to come from official support.

The Cypriot banks are facing highly adverse operating conditions in both Cyprus and Greece, which is causing the system to deleverage rapidly. In Cyprus, Moody's expects real GDP to contract by 4% in 2013 (Source: Moody's Sovereign Risk Group), following a 2.3% contraction in 2012, due to (1) the steep correction in real-estate prices and the continued retrenchment of the real-estate sector; (2) declining activity in the services sector; and (3) Moody's expectation that austerity measures will further suppress domestic consumption. In Greece, following a 7.1%decline in real GDP in 2011, we expect real GDP to contract by 6.9% in 2012 and 4.2% in 2013, bringing the cumulative contraction to 25% since 2008.

Deposit outflows in Greece and Cyprus will exacerbate existing funding and liquidity pressures, triggering increased reliance on central bank funding. Deposits in Greece declined by 38% in the December 2010-June 2012 period, whilst Moody's estimates that non-resident, international business unit deposits in Cyprus declined by 22% over the same period. This exhausted certain banks' liquidity buffers and increased their use of central bank funding. Although the Cypriot banks remain primarily deposit funded with deposits at 70% of assets as of June 2012 (Source: Banks' financial statements), Moody's considers that a high portion of the deposits are confidence sensitive, rendering the banks' funding base vulnerable to further shocks.


Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker

Categories: Results & Ratings
Keywords: Moody's

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