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MOSCOW, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Fitch Ratings said on Friday it had decided to withdraw National Scale Ratings in Russia following a new law that Moscow is pushing to promote its newly created domestic rating agency.
Fitch's National Rating scale provides a relative measure of creditworthiness for rated entities only within the country concerned.
The agency said the decision to withdraw national ratings followed a new regulation that "have resulted in Fitch Ratings' Russian National Scale Ratings not useable for regulatory purposes."
Fitch said it would withdraw around 150 public Russian National Scale Ratings by March 31, 2017. The agency will continue issuing international ratings for Russian issuers.
The move follows a similar one made by Moody's earlier this year. Moody's stopped issuing local credit ratings on Russian companies, which analysts said was the start of a process that will eventually allow Kremlin-backed Analytical Credit Rating Agency (ACRA) to be the main ratings issuer in Russia.
The international agencies will continue to set Russia's sovereign debt ratings and will also dominate in global ratings of major Russian assets. But for local ratings, the changes clear the way for the new national agency to dominate. (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh)