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Fitch upgrades Industrial Bank, affirms 5 other Chinese mid-tier banks

Fitch Ratings upgraded Industrial Bank Co. Ltd.'s long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating to BBB- from BB+ and affirmed the issuer default ratings of five other Chinese mid-tier commercial banks at BB+.

The five banks are China Minsheng Banking Corp. Ltd., Ping An Bank Co. Ltd., Hua Xia Bank Co. Ltd., China Guangfa Bank Co. Ltd. and Bank of Beijing Co. Ltd.

The outlooks are stable, the rating agency said Aug. 16. Fitch also affirmed the viability ratings of Industrial Bank, Ping An Bank, Hua Xia Bank and China Guangfa Bank at "b". The viability ratings of China Minsheng Banking and Bank of Beijing were affirmed at "b+."

The upgrade of Industrial Bank's issuer default rating reflects Fitch's belief that the bank's increased systemic importance, larger scale and niche interbank platform have led to a high probability of extraordinary state support in times of need. The bank has shifted its focus back to bank lending and reduced its non-loan credit exposure, in addition to benefiting from strong linkages with the Fujian local government, which is the bank's largest shareholder with an 18.78% stake.