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Rating Symbols and Definitions


Moody’s rating symbols, rating scales and other ratings-related definitions are contained in Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions publication Moody’s Global Long-Term Rating Scale and Global Short-Term Rating Scale, contained in the Rating Symbols and Definitions publication, are reprinted below.

 

Since John Moody devised the first bond ratings more than a century ago, Moody’s rating systems have evolved in response to the increasing depth and breadth of the global capital markets. Much of the innovation in Moody’s rating system is a response to market needs for clarity around the components of credit risk or to demands for finer distinctions in rating classifications. As a result, our Rating Symbols and Definitions publication is updated periodically.

 

Global Long-Term Rating Scale

Aaa Obligations rated Aaa are judged to be of the highest quality, subject to the lowest level of credit risk.
Aa Obligations rated Aa are judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk.
A Obligations rated A are judged to be upper-medium grade and are subject to low credit risk.
Baa Obligations rated Baa are judged to be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.
Ba Obligations rated Ba are judged to be speculative and are subject to substantial credit risk.
B Obligations rated B are considered speculative and are subject to high credit risk.
Caa Obligations rated Caa are judged to be speculative of poor standing and are subject to very high credit risk.
Ca Obligations rated Ca are highly speculative and are likely in, or very near, default, with some prospect of recovery of principal and interest.
C Obligations rated C are the lowest rated and are typically in default, with little prospect for recovery of principal or interest.

 

Note: Moody’s appends numerical modifiers 1, 2, and 3 to each generic rating classification from Aa through Caa. The modifier 1 indicates that the obligation ranks in the higher end of its generic rating category; the modifier 2 indicates a mid-range ranking; and the modifier 3 indicates a ranking in the lower end of that generic rating category. Additionally, a “(hyb)” indicator is appended to all ratings of hybrid securities issued by banks, insurers, finance companies, and securities firms.*

 

Note: For more information on long-term ratings assigned to obligations in default, please see the definition “Long-Term Credit Ratings for Defaulted or Impaired Securities” in the Other Definitions section of Moody’s Rating Symbols and Definitions publication.

 

* By their terms, hybrid securities allow for the omission of scheduled dividends, interest, or principal payments, which can potentially result in impairment if such an omission occurs. Hybrid securities may also be subject to contractually allowable write-downs of principal that could result in impairment. Together with the hybrid rid security indicator, the long-term obligation rating assigned to a hybrid security is an expression of the relative credit risk associated with that security.

 

Global Short-Term Rating Scale

P-1 Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-1 have a superior ability to repay short-term debt obligations.
P-2 Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-2 have a strong ability to repay short-term debt obligations.
P-3 Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-3 have an acceptable ability to repay short-term obligations.
NP Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Not Prime do not fall within any of the Prime rating categories.