EU bans top credit rating agencies from rating Russia and Russian firms.

015, Mar 2022

LONDON (Reuters) - The European Union has banned top credit rating firms from rating Russia's sovereign debt and the country's companies as part of its latest sanctions package, the European Commission said on Tuesday.

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"These sanctions will further contribute to ramping up economic pressure on the Kremlin and cripple its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine," the Commission said in a statement.

"They have been coordinated with international partners, notably the United States," it added.

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The top three global ratings agencies, S&P Global (NYSE:SPGI), Moody's (NYSE:MCO) and Fitch, would risk losing their licence to operate in the EU if they flouted the ban.

All three have already withdrawn a handful of ratings on Russian firms that have been put under the toughest U.S. OFAC sanctions, but Tuesday's step on the face of it would force dozens more.

S&P Global declined to comment on the Commission's announcement when asked by Reuters. Fitch said it "complies with all relevant regulations for credit rating agencies", while Moody's did not respond to emails or calls.

Other measures in the EU's package included an import ban on Russian steel products currently under EU safeguard measures, which it estimated would amount to approximately 3.3 billion euros ($330.15 million) in lost export revenue for Russia.

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There was also an export ban on luxury goods such as luxury cars and jewellery, and an increase in the number of sanctioned wealthy individuals with links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

($1 = 0.9087 euros)

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