Fitch Ratings has published a new report, which says that the outlook for the banking sector in Uzbekistan is stable. It is supported by strong public investment and high consumption of the population. However, lower prices for commodities, especially of oil and cotton, a slowdown from the main trade partners in the CIS and the reduction of transfers from Russia can pressure on the economy of Uzbekistan.
According to reports, asset quality of banks is adequate, and impaired loans were 4.7% of total loans on an average and coverage ratio was at a comfortable level of 90% at the end of 2014.
Fitch expects that asset quality by 2015 will be at the level of the data gathered at the end of 2014, taking into account an impact of negative external trends in the operating environment in Uzbekistan. Lending in foreign currency is 49% of all loans. However, it is noted as a positive factor, that most borrowers have foreign exchange earnings, while the foreign currency position of the sector is balanced with respect to the currency of funding (49% of total liabilities).
According to reports, capitalization is stable by regular contributions from the state capital. Fitch estimates that the available stock of capital will increase the allowances for loan losses by an average of 9%, which in most cases would be sufficient to withstand moderate stress. The capitalization of the banks in 2015 is supported by contributions from the state capital and a decrease in credit growth.
Corporate customer accounts dominate in the structure of funding in the sector (60%). They are mostly short, but stable. Sources of long-term funding are mainly represented by deposits of the Fund for Reconstruction and Development of Uzbekistan (17% of liabilities of the sector) and foreign debts (12% of liabilities of the sector), mainly involved in the programs of project financing with state support. Liquidity risk is decreased by a generally high proportion of liquid assets (20% at end of 2014), and a comfortable ratio of loans to deposits (including targeted state funds) to 94% at the end of 2014. Liquidity cushion remained adequate in 2015. It is supported by the limited refinancing needs of the sector and the stability of customer accounts.