China and Russia to establish joint rating agency
No more Fitch, Moody’s, or Standard & Poor’s for Russia and China, as they have agreed to establish a rating agency on joint projects, and later, international services, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Tuesday.
“The establishment of an independent rating system is being discussed. Many countries would like to have more objectivity in the assessment of rating agencies,” Siluanov said.
“There will be a Russian-Chinese rating agency, which will use the same tools and criteria for assessing countries and regional investments that existing rating agencies use,” the minister said.
Foreign investors are influenced by rating agencies, which provide analysis for companies investing in capital, especially abroad. Standard & Poor’s recently downgraded Russia’s credit rating to just above junk status citing concerns over the significant capital outflow as a result of Russia’s action in Ukraine. In the first three months of 2014, a record $51 billion left the world’s eighth largest economy.
In China, officials are worried that negative feedback from rating agencies could derail their economy. China has had negative interest rates for nearly a decade and has pockets of mounting property bubbles across the country. According to Siluanov, the agency will “not be political.”
"At first, the agency will evaluate projects and investment between Russia and China, as well as with a number of Asian countries. Then, the system will be exported “as it gains prestige and authority,” the minister said.
Siluanov did not make clear if a new agency will be established, or there will be an extension to the existing Chinese-Russian rating agency Universal Credit Ratings Group (UCRG), which was set up this time last year. It has been reported that the Chinese Dagon rating agency would team up with the American and Russian RusRating in the UCRG venture.
Breaking free of the troika of credit rating agencies isn’t only a phenomenon in Russia and China, but worldwide. More and more countries, including the US, are breaking ties with the international ratings agencies.