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Capital markets

Russia, China create joint rating agency to counter US dominance

Russia and China have agreed to set up a joint ratings agency in a sign of growing ties between the two countries. They also aim to curb the influence of the US-based ‘Big Three’ in the ratings business.

Russia and China have decided to establish a new joint credit rating agency modeled on similar existing agencies, Russia's Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announced Tuesday.

Currently on a visit to China, Siluanov said in a press release that the two countries wanted the new agency's ratings to be apolitical.

EU considering curbs on rating agencies

The move comes in response to the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis when Western agencies were criticized for misjudging the dangers inherent in some new financial products. Moreover, the global market leaders in the ratings business - Standard & Poor's (S&P), Fitch Ratings and Moody's - were accused by Moscow of issuing a politically motivated downgrade of Russian debt in April. At the time, S&P cut Russian bonds to a notch above junk following Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula.

On Tuesday, Siluanov also said that the new agency would in the first phase evaluate mainly Russian-Chinese investment projects with the goal of attracting other Asian countries.

"Based on progress and reputation, we believe that it could reach a level when its opinions will attract other countries, too," he added.

Siluanov gave no details, however, on when the agency would start operating and where it would be based.

uhe/nk (Reuters, Finance Ministry of Russia)

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