Fitch upgrades eight Saudi banks’ long-term issuer default ratings to “A-”

US credit rating agency Fitch has upgraded eight Saudi banks’ long-term issuer default ratings to “A-” from “BBB+,” with a stable outlook, according to a press statement.
The eight Saudi banks are Riyad Bank, Saudi Awwal Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi, Arab National Bank, Alinma Bank, The Saudi Investment Bank, Bank Aljazira and Gulf International Bank — Saudi Arabia.
According to Fitch, the rating upgrade reflects these banks’ creditworthiness relative to other issuers in Saudi Arabia.
The press statement further revealed that Fitch upgraded Gulf International Bank’s and Gulf International Bank UK’s international depository receipts to “A-” from “BBB+.”
In its report, Fitch noted that banks in Saudi Arabia are receiving adequate support from the authorities, affirming their financial stability.
“The authorities have a strong ability to provide support to the banking system given their large external reserves and increased access to external markets,” said Fitch in the report.
The report added: “There is a long record of support for Saudi banks, and Fitch considers the authorities to still have a strong willingness to support the banking system to maintain stability in the domestic financial system.”
Moreover, Fitch upgraded the government support ratings of Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corp. and the Saudi National Bank to “A-” from “BBB+.”
However, both banks’ LT IDRs are unaffected by the rating actions.
Earlier on April 05, Fitch had upgraded Saudi Arabia’s IDR to “A+” from “A.” The increase was attributed to Saudi Arabia’s strong financial position, favorable debt-to-gross domestic product ratio and secure sovereign net foreign assets.
Fitch added the improved rating is conditional on Saudi Arabia’s continuous commitment to steady progress with fiscal, economic and governance reforms.
Last week, Fitch also upgraded oil major Saudi Arabian Oil Co.’s rating to “A+” from “A,” with a stable outlook.
Fitch attributed the rise in Aramco’s rating upgrade to the company’s strong business profile and solid ambitions to deliver a sustainable and progressive dividend.

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