VTB head considers idea of creating BRICS rating agency

VTB head Andrey Kostin considers the idea of creating a rating agency of the BRICS countries useful, he said Wednesday.

VTB head Andrey Kostin considers the idea of creating a rating agency of the BRICS countries useful, he said Wednesday.

"There is a lot of talking about the creation of the BRICS countries rating agency, it is a useful idea, but I am a bigger supporter of creating a Russian agency for rating Russian companies," Kostin said, adding that the position of the leading international agencies is "quite biased."

In April Russian Foreign Ministry Ambassador-at-Large Vadim Lukov said that the establishment of a rating agency of the BRICS grouping of emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) was being discussed at the expert level.

"After the well-known events when the big three rating agencies issued politicized and intentionally biased ratings on the state and prospects of the Russian economy, this issue becomes especially important," the Russian envoy said in reply to TASS’ question.

The envoy’s statement came after Russia assumed the BRICS rotating presidency from April 1.

Russia is not the first country that was confronted with rating aggression or dumping. Similar cases were experienced by France, Argentina and Italy. France even held litigation with one of the rating agencies, he said.

"Now the issue of creating the BRICS rating agency is being discussed among experts," Lukov said.

"It is important to ensure that the agency’s establishment should not be perceived as a political counterbalance to the agencies that already exist because in this case its ratings would be perceived by opponents as politicized and deserving no attention," the Russian envoy said. "This should be avoided. Work should proceed stage by stage," he added.

The first thing now is to hold negotiations between China’s rating agency Dagong and interested Russian economic associations, the diplomat said.

On Junuary 26, the international rating agency S&P downgraded Russia to speculative grade "BB+" from "BBB-" with a negative outlook. Last time Russia was rated that low was eleven years ago, in January of 2004, when S&P downgraded Russia to "BB+." Later in February the international rating agency Moody's reduced Russia's sovereign rating to speculative grade Ba1 from Baa3 with a "negative" outlook. At the same time Fitch is the only rating agency that maintains Russia’s rating at "BBB-" investment level.

The comments that followed Moody’s statements about downgrading Russia’s rating in February included the possible capital outflow in 2015 of $272 bln (the official current forecast of the Central Bank - $90 bln), inflation at 22% and rising public debt to 20% of the country’s GDP. Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin called the forecasts unfounded; officials said it was "politically motivated." Russian Deputy Finance Minister Maxim Oreshkin in April noted that by giving such forecasts Moody's put itself in an awkward position.

First published by TASS.

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