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MEA ratings roundup through July 25

S&P Global MarketIntelligence presents a weekly overview of ratings actions on Middle Easternand African financial institutions and economies. Ratings actions are listed byannouncement date in reverse chronological order.

July 22

* Fitch Ratings changed various ratings of several sovereigns in theMiddle East and Africa to reflect its revised sovereign criteria. Among otheractions, Fitch downgraded to A from A+ Israel's long-term local-currency issuerdefault rating, while revising the outlook for the country to positive fromstable. Israel was also assigned a short-term local-currency issuer defaultrating of F1. Nigeria's long-term local-currency issuer default rating waslowered to B+ from BB-, with a stable outlook. Nigeria was assigned a newshort-term local-currency issuer default rating of B. South Africa's long-termlocal-currency issuer default rating was downgraded to BBB- from BBB, with astable outlook, as the rating agency assigned the country a short-termlocal-currency issuer default rating of F3.

Fitch also cut Lesotho's long-term local-currency issuerdefault rating to B+ from BB-, with a stable outlook, and assigned the countrya short-term local-currency issuer default rating of B. The agency alsodowngraded to BBB- from BBB, with stable outlooks, Morocco's and Namibia'slong-term local-currency issuer default ratings. Morocco andNamibia were assigned new short-term local-currency issuer default ratings ofF3 and their short-term foreign-currency issuer default ratings were affirmedat F3.

Fitch assigned F1+ short-term local-currency issuer defaultratings to Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and B short-term local-currencyissuer default ratings to Angola, the Republic of Congo, Gabon, Rwanda,Ethiopia, Bahrain, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lebanon, Uganda, Zambia and Côted'Ivoire. Mozambique was assigned a short-term local-currency issuer defaultrating of C.

* Fitch downgraded the long-term issuer default and viabilityratings of Bank AudiSAL and Byblos BankSAL, following the agency's downgrade of Lebanon's sovereignrating. The agency lowered the banks' long-term issuer default ratings to B-from B and their viability ratings to b- from "b". The outlook on thelong-term ratings is stable.

* Capital Intelligence affirmed Kuwait'sAA-/A1+ long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency ratings.

July 21

* Capital Intelligence affirmed the financialstrength rating of Invest BankPSC at BBB.

* A.M. Best affirmed Société Tunisienne de Réassurance's B+ (Good) financialstrength rating and "bbb-" issuer credit rating, with stable outlooks.

July 20

* S&P Global Ratings revised the outlook on unit to negative fromstable, while affirming the bank's B+/B long- and short-term counterparty creditratings.

* Fitch downgraded Qatar National Bank SAQ's viability rating to"a-" from "a" and removed it from Rating Watch Negativefollowing the completion of its acquisition of Finansbank AS. At the same time, the agency affirmed thebank's long- and short-term issuer default rating at AA-/F1+. The outlook onthe long-term rating is stable. The bank's support rating and support ratingfloor were affirmed at 1 and AA-, respectively.

July 19

* Fitch downgraded various ratings of andBBK B.S.C., followingthe downgrade of Bahrain's ratings. Thelenders' long- and short-term issuer default ratings were downgraded to BB+/Bfrom BBB-/F3, with a stable outlook on the long-term ratings. Fitch alsodowngraded the banks' viability ratings to "bb+" from"bbb-"; lowered their support ratings to 3 from 2; and revised theirsupport rating floors to BB+ from BBB-.

* Moody's maintained the stable outlook on Qatar's bankingsystem. The outlook, unchanged since 2010, reflects the agency's expectationthat operating conditions for banks will continue to be favorable due to highgovernment spending amid low oil prices, among other factors. Moody's expectsQatari authorities' willingness and ability to support banks, if needed, toremain "very high."

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