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Fitch upgrades 4 Uzbek lenders

Fitch Ratings on July 22 upgraded the long-termforeign-currency issuer default ratings of JSCB Uzbek Industrial & Construction Bank, or UPSB,State Joint-Stock Commercial BankAsaka (OJSC), JointStock Commercial Bank Agrobank and Mikrokredit Bank of Uzbekistanto B from B-, with stable outlook.

The agency also upgraded the support rating and revised thesupport rating floor of all four banks to 4 from 5 and B from B- respectively.The viability ratings of UPSB and Asaka were upgraded to "b" from"b-" and that of Agrobank to "b-" from "ccc".

The agency upgraded Agrobank's long-term local-currencyissuer default ratings to B from B- and affirmed UPSB, Asaka and Mikrokredit'sat B, all with stable outlook. The short-term local- andforeign-currency issuer default ratings of all the banks were affirmed at B.

The upgrades of the four banks' long-term foreign-currencyissuer default ratings, upward revision of their support rating floors, and thelevel of their local-currency issuer default ratings, reflect the agency'srevised view that the state's propensity to provide support in foreign andlocal currencies would be roughly similar.

The upgrades of UPSB's and Asaka's viability ratings reflectthe agency's view of the extended record of reasonable performance and assetquality, access to higher-quality borrowers, with some exposures also beingcovered by state guarantees. The upgrade of Agrobank's viability ratingreflects the agency's view of improvements in its solvency resulting from therecapitalization program executed by government.