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Moscow considers rating cuts part of West’s economic war on Russia — Foreign Ministry

February 06, 2015, 12:12 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman is convinced that the BRICS countries need to speed up the consultations on this important issue for their economies
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© EPA/ANDREW GOMBERT

MOSCOW, February 6. /TASS/. Russia has been pushing for creating a ratings agency together with its BRICS partners to challenge the ratings of Western agencies that are mostly politically motivated, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman said on Friday.

"It’s no secret that rating assessments by Western agencies in many cases are political," Alexander Lukashevich said, reminding that the inflated ratings of US companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac played a hand in the 2008 economic crisis.

The Russian diplomat noted that the current trend has been "flourishing" when the ratings of companies from some countries are artificially downgraded while the ratings of others are inflated.

"The use of targeted and deliberate downgrades of ratings of Russian companies and the sovereign rating of the country has become a part of the US and EU economic war against us," Lukashevich said.

He explained that the downgrades in ratings mean receiving only high-interest loans and the companies will be included on the list of those with risky liquidity. "This is a direct damage to Russia’s economic interests," the diplomat said.

"That’s why we have been calling for working thoroughly on the issue of creating a ratings agency of the BRICS countries or a system of related ratings agencies of each of the grouping’ countries," Lukashevich said.

The diplomat is convinced that the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - need to "speed up the consultations on this important issue for their economies."

"This work is beginning," he said. In particular, the Russian side has established contacts with China’s Dagong Rating Agency, which has already asserted itself on the Asian markets and cooperates with a whole range of Russian companies, he said.

Lukashevich stressed that Dagong’s ratings are based on objective economic realities rather than political criteria.

Earlier this week, China’s Dagong rating agency gave Russian energy giant Gazprom the highest AAA credit rating with a long-term stable outlook. In comparison, the Big Three rating agencies - Standard & Poor's (S&P), Fitch and Moody's - have never assigned a rating higher than BBB+ to Gazprom.

China’s Dagong Global rating agency, one of the leading in the country, was established in 1994 after being approved by the country’s Central Bank and the state committee for economic development.

Dagong’s ratings are recognized by the Chinese government. China’s Dagong became the first agency to have downgraded the US sovereign credit rating. The agency describes itself as a force that contributes towards the establishment of a new international system of credit ratings.

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