Russia, China to create
joint rating agency as ties grow
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[June 03, 2014]
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia
and China have reached an agreement to create a joint
credit rating agency and are working on a series of
measures to make trade easier, Russia's finance minister
said on Tuesday, a sign of growing ties between the
Speaking during a trip to China, Anton Siluanov told journalists
that the new rating agency would be modeled on existing rating
"We would like (the agency's) ratings to be apolitical," Siluanov
said in comments sent by the ministry's press service.
The plan to create an agency in conjunction with China comes at time
when Russia has shown signs of dissatisfaction with the three
western agencies - Standard & Poor's Moody's and Fitch that dominate
the ratings market.
S&P cut Russia's sovereign rating to a notch above junk in late
April, weeks after Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula..
Russian officials criticized what they regarded as a "politically
motivated" downgrade - a claim that S&P denied.
Russia's desire for an alternative has led to discussion about
creating a national rating agency, but some analysts have questioned
whether such a body would have credibility.
The plan to create a new agency in conjunction with China appears
aimed at gradually building a credible alternative to the big three
ratings agencies, which came under fire for failing to anticipate
the financial crisis that began in 2007.
Beijing-based rating firm Dagong said last year it hoped to cash in
on that criticism and take 5-10 percent of the European ratings
market by 2017.
"In its first phase, the agency will evaluate Russian-Chinese
investment projects with the goal to attract a series of Asian
countries, and gradually, based on progress and reputation, we
believe that it could reach a level when its opinions will attract
other countries," Siluanov said.
No details were given on when the agency would begin work.
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After being shunned by the West for its involvement in the Ukrainian
crisis, Russia has moved swiftly to improve business relations with
China and other countries from the BRICS block that also includes
India, Brazil and South Africa.
Late last month, Russia's state-run Gazprom signed a landmark
30-year deal, worth more than $400 billion, to supply gas to China.
While most Western countries condemned President Vladimir Putin for
using Ukraine's vulnerable political situation and taking away the
Crimean Black Sea peninsula, BRICS countries have broadly refrained
Without providing details, Siluanov also said that his talks with
Chinese officials included the possibility of preferential taxes for
Chinese companies investing in Russia, currency swaps and trade
settlement in national currencies.
Answering a question about possible joint management of gold and
foreign currency reserves with China, Siluanov said "the issue of
lending and monetary policy" will be a part of his talks with
China's central bank officials.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Jason Bush and Catherine
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