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Govt Weights Options for National Rating Agency
April 22, 2014 20:52

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The Russian government is mulling the establishment of the national credit rating agency to break the monopoly of the big troika amid threats of further sanctions coming from the West.
First vice-premier Igor Shuvalov is expected to hold a session on this issue later this week, says Kommersant. The new agency is poised to compete with Moody's, Fitch and Standard & Poor's which, according to the government, are skewed against Russia. In March 2014, they changed Russia’s outlook from stable to negative, citing possible sanctions over Russia’s absorption of Crimea. VTB Group canceled a contract with Fitch due to ‘unprofessional actions by the agency’.
Among the options is building a new institution set up on the basis of Universal Credit Ratings Group, a joint project by China’s Dagong Global Credit Rating Co., Russia’s Rus-Rating and the US-based Egan Jones Rating. Another alternative could be joining ARC Ratings, an international agency that unites national credit agencies of Portugal, Brazil, India, South Africa and Malaysia.
Experts say it could take up to ten years to make the system effective. Anyway, efficient foreign borrowings are only possible if the country enjoys investment grade ratings reflecting its long-term sustainability.  
The need for a domestic rating agency, just like a national payment and settlement system surfaced after Visa and MasterCard introduced restrictions following the introduction of US sanctions.
Russia has sparked a wave of criticism after it incorporated Crimea into its territory following a referendum on the peninsula with a large ethnic Russian population.

The US and the EU imposed a raft of sanctions on Russian officials and individuals with close ties to the Kremlin. The US also put space and military cooperation on hold, followed by some of its NATO allies, including the UK.
The US sanctions have encountered a vigorous response from the Russian Foreign Ministry which came up with a black list of its own.


Author: Mikhail Vesely

Tags: Russia economy Ukraine crisis Crimea   

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