Fitch gains access to China's credit ratings market

By Chi Jingyi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/14 21:08:40

Fitch gains access to nation’s credit ratings market

Photo taken on March 13, 2018 shows the headquarters of the People's Bank of China. (Xinhua/Cai Yang)

Fitch Ratings, a US-based rating agency, has been granted access to China's credit rating market via its wholly owned subsidiary, the central bank announced on Thursday. 

Analysts said it is a step forward in China's financial market opening-up and part of the implementation of the phase one trade deal between China and the US.

Fitch Ratings has been approved by the People's Bank of China (PBC), the central bank, to establish a wholly owned subsidiary that is allowed to conduct ratings in the inter-bank bond market.

"Foreign investors' lack of understanding of the credit status of Chinese enterprises is mainly due to disparities between the credit rating systems of China and other countries. The introduction of foreign rating companies can help unify the rating methods and standards, which will directly promote the further opening of the bond market," Ding Meng, a senior strategist at Bank of China's Macao branch, told the Global Times on Thursday.

China has the world's second-largest bond market, which was valued at 12 trillion yuan ($1.69 trillion) in the first quarter, according to PBC data in April.

The PBC noted that Fitch's entry is another step by China to open its financial sector wider to the world, and is also a concrete implementation of the phase one trade deal with the US.

"The move could be seen as the implementation of the China-US phase one trade deal. But the pace at which China and the US are implementing the agreement needs to be further discussed and advanced in view of the coronavirus outbreak," Hu Qimu, senior fellow at Sinosteel Economic Research Institute, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The PBC also said it will continue to promote the high-level opening-up of China's credit rating industry.

"This means that more international credit rating agencies will be allowed to enter China. But you could almost identify the agencies that will potentially enter China since the Big Three - S&P Global, Fitch Ratings and Moody's - account for roughly 90 percent of the world's credit rating market," said Ding.

Fitch, the second foreign ratings agency to have access in China, followed the entry of S&P Global Ratings in January 2019, ahead of the China-US trade talks.

The entry of Moody's could be very soon, said Tian Yun, vice director of the Beijing Economic Operation Association.

Newspaper headline: Fitch gains access to nation’s credit ratings market


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