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AIIB says could rely on Chinese investors if ratings unfair

[SINGAPORE] China's new international development bank could tap the domestic market to raise the billions of dollars it needs if international credit rating agencies do not treat it fairly, its future president said on Thursday.

Jin Liqun, president-designate of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), also told a conference in Singapore that the bank strives to become a "squeaky clean", first-class multinational institution.

He said the bank had been engaging credit rating agencies including Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch, which dominate the international market.

"I want you to treat me fairly," said Mr Jin, referring to their assessments of the AIIB's creditworthiness. "If you don't do it, I'll go without you. I have the whole Chinese market to tap." He said the bank could easily raise $20-30 billion from the Chinese market at very favourable rates.

"Upon that time, when investors recognise us as triple-A rating and you don't, you'll have a huge reputation problem," Mr Jin added.

China has managed to rally more than 50 nations to join the bank, including the United Kingdom and Australia, but questions have been raised over how it will be run and what its lending and governance standards are likely to be.

The AIIB is expected to rival institutions such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, over which China believes Washington has too much influence.

The bank, with an authorised capital of US$100 billion, is on schedule to start operating by a year-end deadline and will have its first batch of projects by the second quarter of next year, Mr Jin also said, but declined to give details on the projects.