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November 30, 2017

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Fitch attests ‘A+’ on 3 policy banks

FITCH Ratings has affirmed the long-term issuer default ratings of “A+” for China Development Bank Corporation, Agricultural Development Bank of China, and Export-Import Bank of China, and said their outlook was stable after the country’s banking regulator unveiled new regulations recently.

The three policy banks’ ratings, which are equivalent to those of China’s sovereign ratings, are based on Fitch’s expectations for continued strong support from the state toward them.

A “default rating” is the measure of an institution’s credit risk and the ratings are marked by a series of symbols that range between “AAA” (meaning the highest credit quality) and “D” (referring to Default).

Fitch believes the China Banking Regulatory Commission’s recent regulations governing supervision of the three policy banks are aimed at “improving their operational efficiency and profitability” so that their capital can become self-sustaining in the long run, according to its report.

The CBRC issued the regulations this month in response to the central government's call to promote reform of policy-oriented financial institutions.

The new regulations, effective from the beginning of 2018, also put greater emphasis over governance and risk management at the policy banks. Fitch believes tighter supervision at these policy banks is consistent with the authorities’ broader commitment to containing financial sector risks in China.

Fitch expects the three policy banks to “maintain their increasingly important policy roles” in supporting and promoting the strategic development of China’s economy by providing financing in key areas.

Fitch expects all three policy banks to continue to “play a significant role” in supporting state policy objectives, as the new regulations specifically state that they should give priority to policy-related businesses over commercial activities.

China Development Bank is responsible for funding social housing projects, domestic infrastructure projects and pillar industries, while the Agricultural Development Bank of China provides financing for the procurement of agricultural goods and rural development projects, and the Export-Import Bank of China primarily offers financing for the development of international trade.


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