TASHKENT, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) has assigned a first-time long-term issuer rating to the Government of Uzbekistan at B1, the rating agency said Wednesday.
Uzbekistan, which has already been assigned BB- rating by Fitch and S&P, now holds three major global agencies' ratings ahead of its debut eurobond issue in London, Britain, this week.
Moody's B1 rating means that the country is vulnerable, but now it can fulfill its financial obligations.
In addition, Moody's has also assigned a provisional rating of (P) B1 to the Government of Uzbekistan's forthcoming medium-term note program and a B1 rating to the planned drawdown from the program.
Moody's rated Uzbekistan's economic, fiscal strength and susceptibility to event risk as "moderate," but noting that the country's institutional strength was "very low" based on economic growth, demographic trends, implementation of new policy tools that would pave the way for a transition to a market-based economy and other factors.
"The stable outlook reflects Moody's expectations for balanced risks both over the near and medium term. Upside and downside risks mainly relate to the credit implications of the reforms now under way," Moody's said.
Uzbekistan's reform program could strengthen its credit profile if it leads to a sustained increase in productivity growth and competitiveness and if it improves government and policy effectiveness, according to the rating agency.
Uzbekistan needed the ratings of the three global rating agencies ahead of its first-time eurobond issue.
An Uzbek delegation traveled this week to the United States and Britain for a "road show" meeting with investors for debut eurobond placement.
"Based on conditions and trends in the international financial markets, it is planned to issue the country's first state international bonds for a period of five and or 10 years," the Uzbek Finance Ministry said earlier.