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Fitch becomes 2nd wholly owned foreign credit rating agency in China

Fitch Ratings has become the second foreign company in China allowed to operate a wholly owned non-Chinese credit rating agency after securing a license to rate fixed-income securities in the country's interbank market, amid a wider government easing of foreign access to its financial markets.

The U.S.-based rating agency said in a May 14 statement that its unit Fitch (China) Bohua Credit Ratings Ltd. received the license approval from the People's Bank of China and the National Association of Financial Market Institutional Investors.

It said analysts, business development and support staff are already in place to enable operation in China.

The PBOC said the approval is a "concrete implementation" of the first phase of the U.S.-China trade agreement.

S&P Global Inc. was the first U.S. credit rating company to receive regulatory approval to establish a wholly owned unit in China in January 2019, and Moody's Corp. reportedly signed a framework agreement in March 2019 to increase its stake in China Chengxin International Credit Rating Co. Ltd. to more than 50% from 30%.