Global agencies downgrade SBI, BoB, PNB debt ratings

Two international rating agencies — Moody's and Fitch — on Monday downgraded the debt rating of the nation's top three public sector banks, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Punjab National bank, citing worsening credit quality and recapitalisation concerns.

While Moody's slashed SBI's senior unsecured debt and local currency deposit rating by a notch to Baa3 from Baa2, citing asset quality and recapitalisation concerns. Fitch Ratings earlier in the day dowgraded the viability ratings of Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Bank of Baroda (BoB) by one notch to 'BB+' from 'BBB-' but retained their long-term issuer default ratings at 'BBB-'.

"A combination of increasing pressure on credit fundamentals and ongoing reliance on fiscally constrained government to maintain capital at levels desired by regulators argue for appropriateness of supported debt and deposit ratings of SBI at a level no higher than the sovereign," Moody's said in a late evening statement.

SBI's revised rating for the senior unsecured debt and local currency deposit instruments would now be Baa3 from the earlier Baa2, Moody's said, while revising down its outlook on the bank's financial strength rating to negative from stable.

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