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RFI: Moody’s Under Fire after Negative Rating of China

Radio France Internationale (RFI) recently reported that ratings firm Moody’s faced a barrage of criticism from China after it changed the country’s credit rating outlook to negative. This rating outlook change resulted in a series of similar changes in Moody’s outlook for China’s state-owned banks, insurance companies, and enterprises, including 22 Chinese local government financing vehicles that have issued international bonds. Moody’s also changed the outlook on the credit ratings of China’s two special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, to negative. In the meantime it downgraded its outlook on a number of other companies as well, including the operator of Hong Kong’s subway system.

Chinese government ministries and officials criticized Moody’s move in various public statements and official media articles, saying that China was “disappointed” and believed that Moody’s rating methodology was “flawed” and that its concerns were “unwarranted.” China’s Ministry of Finance issued a long article rebutting Moody’s rating decision, saying that China’s economy is continuing to recover and that the country’s fiscal revenue has maintained a restorative, positive growth rate.

Eric Chan, the Hong Kong government’s second-ranking figure and Chief Secretary for Administration, said that Moody’s decision to downgrade Hong Kong’s credit rating outlook is being used by Western countries, led by the United States, to discredit Hong Kong and the Mainland. He said in a radio interview that Moody’s “only purpose” in its rating decision on Hong Kong was to suppress the development of the Mainland through Hong Kong.

Source: RFI, December 8, 2023