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Ratings view shrugged off by minister

By Chen Yingqun and Zheng Yangpeng ( China Daily ) 2016-03-21

'No major negative response' to lowered outlook from Moody's

Ratings view shrugged off by minister

China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei speaks at the China Development Forum in Beijing on Sunday. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

Finance Minister Lou Jiwei has shrugged off the lowered outlook on China's sovereign credit ratings by US ratings agency Moody's Investors Service early this month.

There has been no major negative responses from either the international or domestic markets to the change, he told the China Development Forum in Beijing on Sunday.

"We don't care much about the ratings," the minister said.

Moody's cut its credit rating outlook on China and its biggest banks from stable to negative in early March, citing the country's rising debts and "inadequate capability to carry out reforms".

Lou said he understood Moody's concerns, but said it had failed to take into consideration China's efforts to cut overcapacity and to deleverage — measures clarified during the two sessions held from March 3 to 16.

He said it is unreasonable that the agency has raised the outlook on Greece despite the European country's serious debt problems, while cutting the outlook on China, whose economic situation is much better than that of Greece.

In September, Moody's raised the outlook on Greece's sovereign credit ratings to "stable" from "negative", and in February upgraded the credit ratings of its four key lenders.

Liang Haiming, chief economist of China iValley Research Institute, a think tank in Beijing, said, "Moody's has obviously used double standards."

Analysts said Moody's downgrading of China's rating outlook fails to take into account the country's improving economic fundamentals.

Attending the forum, Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said that judging from first-quarter data, the economy remains resilient although it faces downward pressure.

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