BRICS Members Divided On Creating Their Own Credit Rating Agency, Worry About Credibility

BRICS Members Divided On Creating Their Own Credit Rating Agency, Worry About Credibility

Fraud charges against South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan have raised fears the country is moving closer to a junk rating by Wall Street credit ratings services.

S&P and Fitch Ratings are both expected to review their credit assessments in December. Both kept their ratings at one level above junk in June. Moody’s Investors Service is scheduled on Nov. 25 to review its rating, which is at two levels above junk with a negative outlook, Bloomberg reported.

BRICS is an association of five countries with emerging economies —  Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — that are home to half the world’s population and 22 percent of its gross world product.

The BRICS members lead developing or newly industrialized countries whose economies have at times grown fast, and who exert influence on regional affairs. However, economic growth in most BRICS countries has slowed in recent years. South Africa grew 1 percent in 2015, Brazil is in its worst recession since the 1930s, Russia is in a recession thanks to oil prices and sanctions, and China’s slowdown has been a drag on growth, reported to be its slowest in 25 years.

From Indian Express. Story by Press Trust of India, a nonprofit cooperative among more than 500 Indian newspapers.

Efforts to set up a BRICS credit rating agency hit a roadblock Sunday due to lack consensus after some members voiced concerns over credibility and access to dependable data for the new entity if it takes on the Wall Street-based Big 3 — S&P, Fitch and Moody’s.

“The leaders were mainly convinced but we couldn’t sign the agreement right now because there is a sense that experts need to look at it more closely,” Economic Relations Secretary Amar Sinha told reporters after the Eighth BRICS Summit.

“Every credit rating agency has to have credibility and access to absolutely dependable data. These two things the experts have to look at now,” he said.

However, this is not a setback, Sinha said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned the proposed credit rating agency in his closing remarks at the summit. “To further bridge the gap in the global financial architecture, we agreed to fast track the setting up of a BRICS rating agency,” he said.

India first raised the idea of such a BRICS credit ratings agency to solve impediments for emerging market economies posed by the present credit ratings agency market, which is dominated by S&P, Moody’s and Fitch. All are based in Wall Street and run with pure commercial considerations.

They hold over 90 percent of the sovereign ratings market. Indian officials were at the forefront of pointing out the shortcomings and need for an alternative credit ratings agency.

According to media reports over the weekend, China had raised certain concerns about the proposal and was not in favor of setting up one now.

Exim Bank of India Chairman Yaduvendra Mathur said there’s an urgent need to have a professional credit rating agency.

BRICS grouping has been successful in creating a development bank to help overcome the infrastructure funding challenges that they are facing.

K.V. Kamath, president of the BRICS New Development Bank, also backed a BRICS credit ratings agency, saying growth is constrained in the present credit ratings system.

“We need not constrain ourselves from our ability to do business…if this is the norm, I fear growth in the developing world will also be impacted,” he told media.

Read more at Indian Express.