The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

What’s wrong with Dagong?

The agency has hit the headlines with its aggressive ratings actions against western sovereign credits. But those decisions, like the man behind the agency, do not hold up against the simplest scrutiny.

Serene to the point of impassivity, Guan Jianzhong does not look like a James Bond villain, but he sure can sound like one. Dagong Global Credit Rating, the Chinese ratings agency he chairs, has spent the past two years baffling and amusing the world.

For some, the Beijing-based firm is a minor corporate hero, downgrading and upbraiding the west’s unchecked addiction to debt when few others dared or cared to. To others, Dagong is a joke in a novelty cracker: at best, a diversion designed to generate profit and headlines.

Whatever your view, it is hard not to be a little impressed by Dagong’s sheer chutzpah. In November 2010, it downgraded the US’s sovereign rating to single-A plus from double-A, then slashed it again nine months later to a lowly single-A, citing concerns about the soaring US national debt and a budget last balanced 11 years ago.

Developed, indebted economy downgrades followed one after the other, like dominos. The UK was knocked to an single-A plus rating in May 2011 with a negative outlook. France came next. Peripheral or troubled Europe struggled most, damned in Dagong’s eyes: Italy, triple-B, downgraded in March 2011; Portugal, double-B plus, November 2011; and Greece, gleefully cut to a D default rating last month.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree