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Fitch downgrades 6 Omani banks

Fitch Ratings on March 21 downgraded the viability ratings of HSBC Bank Oman SAOG and Bank Muscat SAOG to "bb+" from "bbb-" and those of Ahli Bank, National Bank of Oman SAOG and Bank Dhofar SAOG to "bb" from "bb+", and removed the ratings from Rating Watch Negative.

The viability rating of Sohar International Bank SAOG was affirmed at "bb." The support ratings of the banks, except HSBC Bank Oman, were affirmed at 3. For HSBC Bank Oman, the rating was affirmed at 2.

The long-term foreign-currency issuer default ratings of National Bank of Oman, Sohar International Bank and Bank Dhofar were downgraded to BB from BB+, with a stable outlook, and the support rating floors were revised down to BB from BB+. The ratings were removed from Rating Watch Negative. The short-term foreign-currency issuer default ratings of the banks were affirmed at B.

For Bank Muscat, the rating agency downgraded the long- and short-term foreign-currency issuer default ratings to BB+/B from BBB-/F3, with a stable outlook on the long-term rating. Fitch affirmed the bank's support rating floor affirmed at BB+, downgraded its long-term senior unsecured debt to BB+ from BBB- and the short-term senior unsecured euro medium term note program to B from F3. The ratings were removed from Rating Watch Negative.

Fitch downgraded Ahli Bank's long-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings to BB from BB+, with a stable outlook, and revised the support rating floor down to BB from BB+. The ratings were removed from Rating Watch Negative. The rating agency affirmed the bank's short-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings at B.

The rating actions reflect Fitch's view that its downgrade of the sovereign on Dec. 19 also negatively impacted the banking sector operating environment in Oman.