Moody's Investor Service on Thursday raised China's foreign currency debt rating
from A3 to A2, giving the country a welcome boost ahead of its first international bond issue
in two years
The agency raised its rating for Hong Kong's foreign
currency debt from A3 to A1, saying the SAR's economy was closely linked to China's, but
that it had a lower risk profile because of its stable history as an international financial
Beijing is preparing to issue bonds worth US$1 billion and a
further US$500 million in euros.
Moody's said its decision to upgrade
China's foreign currency rating was based partly on Beijing's policy of containing foreign
debt at a "prudent level".
Official statistics put China's total external debt
at just over US$168 billion.
Beijing announced on Thursday that its
foreign exchange reserves hit US$384 billion at the end of September, up from US$364
billion in August.