KUWAIT : Fitch Ratings, the international credit rating agency, affirmed National Bank of Kuwait's (NBK) Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'AA-', the highest in the Middle East and North Africa , with a Stable Outlook. Fitch also affirmed National Bank of Kuwait International's ( London) Long -term IDR at AA- with a Stable Outlook. Fitch said that NBK's ratings reflect its solid balance sheet, with strong asset quality ratios and a sound capital base, and consistent profitability. All these are underpinned by the bank's dominant domestic franchise. "NBK's profitability remained strong during 9M13, maintaining its leading market share in its principal business lines", said Fitch. Fitch expects profits to continue at a similar level in 2014. The rating agency added that traditionally NBK has a very stable deposit base and is seen in the region as a 'safe haven' for funds in times of volatility." Fitch stressed that NBK's capital base is still strong. The agency pointed out that NBK is the largest bank in Kuwait by assets and has leading shares in most market sectors. The business is split into the main business areas of corporate banking, retail and private banking, investment banking, and international banking. With the consolidation of Boubyan Bank , NBK is now the only bank in Kuwait servicing both the conventional and Islamic banking markets. NBK enjoys the highest credit ratings by the major international rating agencies: Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings. In their latest reports, the three rating agencies affirmed NBK's credit ratings with a stable outlook. NBK also maintains its position among the 50 safest banks in the world for the eighth time in a row. All rights reserved.
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