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Moody's upgrades 4 Belarusian banks in light of improving economy

Moody's on March 21 upgraded the long-term foreign-currency bank deposits of PAO Sberbank of Russia unit OJSC BPS-Sberbank and state-owned JSC Belagroprombank, Belinvestbank JSC and OAO Belarusbank to Caa1 from Caa2, with a stable outlook on all four banks.

The short-term bank deposits of the banks were affirmed at NP. The rating agency also upgraded the long-term local-currency bank deposits of BPS-Sberbank to B2 from B3 and those of Belagroprombank, Belarusbank and Belinvestbank to B3 from Caa1, also with stable outlooks.

BPS-Sberbank's baseline and adjusted baseline credit assessments were upgraded to "b3" and "b2" from "caa1" and "b3" and those of Belarusbank were raised to "b3" from "caa1." The baseline and adjusted baseline credit assessments of Belagroprombank and Belinvestbank were affirmed at "caa1."

The agency also affirmed the B3(cr)/NP(cr) long- and short-term counterparty risk assessments of Belagroprombank and Belinvestbank.

The rating actions reflect an improved operating environment and are prompted by the agency's revision of the Belarus banking system's macro profile to Very Weak+ from Very Weak. Belarus' improved economic strength has led to a positive change in the country's macro profile, Moody's said, noting that it anticipates average economic growth rates of about 2% in coming years.

The stable outlook reflects that on Belarus' sovereign rating and incorporates the stabilization of the operating environment for the country's banks. Moody's recently raised Belarus' issuer and senior unsecured ratings to B3 from Caa1 with a stable outlook, citing the country's strengthening external liquidity position.