Dagong Global Credit Ratings Co. Ltd. is causing a stir.
The clearest headline is in the Daily Telegraph: "Chinese rating agency strips Western nations of AAA status".
Dagong is clearly taking advantage of the lack of public confidence in rating agencies, for reasons adduced, for example, in the July 2008 report of the Securities and Exchange Commission. That report focused on the agencies' role in the subprime mortgage crisis, but the lack of transparency and of robust internal auditing procedures that were that report's main findings may equally affect sovereign debt ratings.
Dagong differs from the other rating agencies in that it takes more account of factors such as the size of a country's foreign exchange reserves (China has USD2.5 trillion right now). The difference is summarised in a neat table in the Financial Times Alphaville blog:
Dagong has posted on its English language website the full PDF text of its Sovereign Credit Rating Report of 50 Countries in 2010 released on 11 July 2010,
Dagong's websites: Chinese, English.