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Fitch acts on 3 Kazakh lenders

Fitch Ratings on April 6 took ratings actions on Kazakhstan-based banks Bank of Astana JSC, JSC AsiaCredit Bank and JSC Eximbank Kazakhstan.

The rating agency downgraded Bank of Astana's and AsiaCredit Bank's long-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings to B- from B and their national long-term ratings to BB-(kaz) from BB(kaz), with stable outlooks. Fitch also downgraded the banks' viability ratings to "b-" from "b."

In addition, the agency affirmed Bank of Astana's short-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings at B and AsiaCredit Bank's short-term foreign-currency issuer default rating at B.

At the same time, the agency placed Eximbank's B- long-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings, B short-term foreign-currency issuer default rating, B+(kaz) national long-term rating and "b-" viability rating on Rating Watch Negative.

The downgrade of Bank of Astana's issuer default ratings reflects recent weakening of asset quality and profitability. The ratings also take into account moderate capital ratios and limited liquidity buffer.

Meanwhile, AsiaCredit Bank's issuer default rating downgrade is driven by its persistently high amount of risky or impaired loans and the modest capital buffer relative to potential problems. The ratings also factor in limited franchise and high concentrations on both sides of the balance sheet, supported by the still reasonable liquidity position.

The agency placed Eximbank's issuer default ratings on watch due to continued pressure on the bank's asset quality and capitalization and the deterioration in its liquidity position.