Dagong may delay American plans after SEC rebuff

By Wang Xing (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-07-29 14:35
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BEIJING - Chinese credit rating agency Dagong Global Credit Rating on Wednesday said it might delay its American credit rating market entry plans, after the US government rebuffed its application earlier this year.

The company also urged the US government to provide a fair trade environment for Chinese financial organizations.

Guan Jianzhong, chairman of Dagong, which published its own sovereign credit rating two weeks ago, said the company is re-evaluating its global strategy after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) turned down its application in April. The agency expects a final SEC decision in September

"We are currently reconsidering our plan to expand in the overseas markets," he said. Guan indicated that the agency may change tack and focus on providing corporate ratings in other international markets.

The SEC had in April this year rebuffed Dagong's application, as it does not have local offices or provided ratings services to American companies.

Guan, however, refutes these claims. "How can we give rating services to US companies unless we have a presence in the market," he said.

He added that the SEC decision is also part of the US efforts to maintain the dominance of American credit rating agencies in the global market.

The US government must reciprocate the Chinese gesture of opening the domestic market to US credit rating agencies, he said.

Privately owned Dagong published its own sovereign credit ranking on July 11. It was the first instance of a non-Western credit rating agency coming out with its own methodology.

Dagong assigned an 'AA' rating with a negative outlook to US government debt, one notch below China's rating of 'AA+'. In contrast, the US has an 'AAA' rating from other credit rating agencies like Moody's Investors Service, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's.

Guan feels that China must have its own say in how the credit risks of the nations are assessed, as it is the biggest creditor nation in the world. It will also avoid the bias of the Western rating agencies, as most of them are politicized and highly ideological, he said.

Credit rating agencies have been facing flak since 2008 as they failed to disclose the inherent risks in the financial system that led to the global economic crisis. They have also come under fire for their slow pace in downgrading some of the heavily indebted peripheral eurozone economies.

"It is not easy for Chinese credit rating agencies to expand in the overseas markets, as global investors lack proper trust," said Wu Jingmei, professor of finance at Renmin University.

She said it would still take a long time for Chinese credit rating agencies to establish a significant presence in the global market.

Set up in 1994, Dagong signed a three-year technology co-operation agreement in 1999 with Moody's Investors Service.

Guan said on Wednesday that the company is also in talks to rope in strategic investors.

China Daily