Moody’s closes business in Russia

Moody’s has decided to leave Russia’s local market, the agency said in a statement on Wednesday. The agency will withdraw the national scale ratings assigned by its joint venture in Russia, Moody’s Interfax Rating Agency (MIRA) and will close the local business. The decision was driven by legislative changes which oblige rating agencies to set up local subsidiaries in order to issue local ratings and agree that ratings cannot be withdrawn under outside political pressure, thus conflicting with Western sanctions. As a result of the sanctions, agencies dropped some assessments of Russian companies, which will not be allowed to do under the new rules. Moody’s will withdraw approximately 150 national scale ratings in the course of the year, but the agency will keep the global scale ratings. The other major rating agencies, Fitch and S&P, are reportedly also mulling exiting the local market due to conflicting jurisdictions or continue operating through branches and assigning only international ratings.

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