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Fitch affirms ratings of 5 Vietnamese banks

Fitch Ratings said April 1 that it affirmed the long-termissuer default ratings of five Vietnamese banks.

The rating agency affirmed the long-term issuer defaultratings of Vietnam Bank forAgriculture & Rural Development, or Agribank; , or Vietinbank; and Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade ofVietnam, or Vietcombank, at B+. Their short-term ratings wereaffirmed at B.

The viability ratings of Vietinbank and Vietcombank wereaffirmed at "b-."

The long and short-term issuer default ratings of and Military Commercial JointStock Bank were affirmed at B. Their viability ratings wereaffirmed at "b."

The outlook for all of the ratings is stable.

Fitch said it affirmed the ratings because the Vietnamesebanking sector is showing initial signs of stabilization. The rating agencyexpects funding and liquidity conditions for the sector to remain steady,supported by the country's relatively stable currency and benign inflation.

However, Fitch cautioned that low reported nonperformingloan ratios suggest that the capitalization of banks is likely to be weakerthan what they reported.

The long-term ratings of Agribank, Vietinbank andVietcombank may follow shifts in the sovereign's creditworthiness and ratings.The ratings may also be affected by any perceived change in the government'spropensity to support the banks. The long-term ratings of Asia Commercial Bankand Military Bank are sensitive to changes in their viability ratings.