Thomson BankWatch upgraded the debt of Chase Manhattan Corp. and Citicorp Friday, citing the two money centers' improving core profitability and efficiency.

Thomson upgraded Citicorp's and Chase's senior debt to Aplus from A, and their subordinated debt from A-minus to A.

Citicorp is uniquely positioned to benefit from economic recovery and the emerging economies of the Third World because of its worldwide presence, Thomson said.

Already its core earnings potential over the last few quarters has proved quite strong and its credit costs have declined, Thomson said.

Similarly, Chase's asset quality has improved considerably since the bleak days of the early 1990s.

"Unhampered by burdensome credit costs, CMFs earnings are poised to benefit from a strong domestic consumer business, good fiduciary services, and a now healthy corporate business," Thomson said.

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