Fitch Ratings has released new, internationally harmonized rating criteria for global swap counterparties that analysts said will be slightly more conservative than in the past but are unlikely to affect the ratings of most U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities market participants the criteria apply to.The new criteria, which are being applied to new transactions starting Sept. 13, require that analysts look at long-term as well as short-term ratings in assessing global swap counterparty credit risk, according to Frankfurt-based Fitch senior director Stefan Bund; Claire Mezzanotte, a managing director in Fitch's New York-based credit policy group; and John Roglieri, a director in the Fitch's New York-based residential mortgage group. The Fitch analysts said that previously the criteria only required that analysts look at short-term ratings in assessing global swap counterparty risk.

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