Standard and Poor's Rating Terms


Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (ICR)
AAA - An obligor rated ‘AAA’ has EXTREMELY STRONG capacity to meet its financial commitments. ‘AAA’ is the highest Issuer Credit Rating assigned by Standard & Poor’s.

Plus (+) or minus(-) - The ratings from ‘AA’ to ‘CCC’ may be modified by the addition of a plus or minus sign to show relative standing within the major rating categories.

AA - An obligor rated ‘AA’ has VERY STRONG capacity to meet its financial commitments. It differs from the highest rated obligors only in small degree.

A - An obligor rated ‘A’ has STRONG capacity to meet its financial commitments but is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligors in higher-rated categories.

BBB - An obligor rated ‘BBB’ has ADEQUATE capacity to meet its financial commitments. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitments.

Note: Obligors rated ‘BB’, ‘B’, ‘CCC’, and ‘CC’ are regarded as having significant speculative characteristics. ‘BB’ indicates the least degree of speculation and ‘CC’ the highest. While such obligors will likely have some quality and protective characteristics, these may be outweighed by large uncertainties or major exposures to adverse conditions.

BB - An obligor rated ‘BB’ is LESS VULNERABLE in the near term than other lower-rated obligors. However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties and exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions which could lead to the obligor’s inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitments. B An obligor rated ‘B’ is MORE VULNERABLE than the obligors rated ‘BB’, but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitments. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor’s capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitments.

B - An obligation rated ‘B’ is more vulnerable to nonpayment than obligations rated ‘BB’, but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor’s capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

CCC - An obligor rated ‘CCC’ is CURRENTLY VULNERABLE, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions to meet its financial commitments.

CC - An obligor rated ‘CC’ is CURRENTLY HIGHLY VULNERABLE.

C - A subordinated debt or preferred stock obligation rated ‘C’ is CURRENTLY HIGHLY VULNERABLE to nonpayment. The ‘C’ rating may be used to cover a situation where a bankruptcy petition has been filed or similar action taken, but payments on this obligation are being continued. A ‘C’ also will be assigned to a preferred stock issue in arrears on dividends or sinking fund payments, but that is currently paying.

R - An obligor rated ‘R’ is under regulatory supervision owing to its financial condition. During the pendency of the regulatory supervision the regulators may have the power to favor one class of obligations over others or pay some obligations and not others. Please see Standard & Poor’s issue credit ratings for a more detailed description of the effects of regulatory supervision on specific issues or classes of obligations.

SD and D - An obligor rated ‘SD’ (Selective Default) or ‘D’ has failed to pay one or more of its financial obligations (rated or unrated) when it came due. A ‘D’ rating is assigned when Standard & Poor’s believes that the default will be a general default and that the obligor will fail to pay all or substantially all of its obligations as they come due. An ‘SD’ rating is assigned when Standard & Poor’s believes that the obligor has selectively defaulted on a specific issue or class of obligations but it will continue to meet its payment obligations on other issues or classes of obligations in a timely manner. Please see Standard & Poor’s issue credit ratings for a more detailed description of the effects of a default on specific issues or classes of obligations.

NR - An issuer designated NR is not rated.

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Public Information Ratings
Ratings with a ‘pi’ subscript are based on an analysis of an issuer’s published financial information, as well as additional information in the public domain. They do not, however, reflect in-depth meetings with an issuer’s management and are therefore based on less comprehensive information than ratings without a ‘pi’ subscript. Ratings with a ‘pi’ subscript are reviewed annually based on a new year’s financial statements, but may be reviewed on an interim basis if a major event occurs that may affect the issuer’s credit quality.

Outlooks are not provided for ratings with a ‘pi’ subscript, nor are they subject to potential CreditWatch listings. Ratings with a ‘pi’ subscript generally are not modified with ‘+’ or ‘-‘ designations. However, such designations may be assigned when the issuer’s credit rating is constrained by sovereign risk or the credit quality of a parent company or affiliated group.

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Short-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (ICR)
A-1 - An obligor rated ‘A-1’ has STRONG capacity to meet its financial commitments. It is rated in the highest category by Standard & Poor’s. Within this category, certain obligors are designated with a plus sign (+). This indicates that the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments is EXTREMELY STRONG.

A-2 - An obligor rated ‘A-2’ has SATISFACTORY capacity to meet its financial commitments. However, it is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligors in the highest rating category.

A-3 - An obligor rated ‘A-3’ has ADEQUATE capacity to meet its financial obligations. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitments.

B - A short-term obligation rated 'B' is regarded as having significant speculative characteristics.  Ratings of 'B-1', 'B-2', and 'B-3' may be assigned to indicate finer distinctions within the 'B' category.  The obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation; however, it faces major ongoing uncertainties which could lead to the obligor's inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. 

B-1 - A short-term obligation rated 'B-1' is regarded as having significant speculative characteristics, but the obligor has a relatively stronger capacity to meet its financial commitments over the short-term compared to other speculative-grade obligors.

B-2 - A short-term obligation rated 'B-2' is regarded as having significant speculative characteristics, and the obligor has an average speculative-grade capacity to meet its financial commitments over the short-term compared to other speculative-grade obligors.

B-3 - A short-term obligation rated 'B-3' is regarded as having significant speculative characteristics, and the obligor has a relatively weaker capacity to meet its financial commitments over the short-term compared to other speculative-grade obligors.

C - A subordinated debt or preferred stock obligation rated ‘C’ is CURRENTLY HIGHLY VULNERABLE to nonpayment. The ‘C’ rating may be used to cover a situation where a bankruptcy petition has been filed or similar action taken, but payments on this obligation are being continued. A ‘C’ also will be assigned to a preferred stock issue in arrears on dividends or sinking fund payments, but that is currently paying.

R - An obligor rated ‘R’ is under regulatory supervision owing to its financial condition. During the pendency of the regulatory supervision the regulators may have the power to favor one class of obligations over others or pay some obligations and not others. Please see Standard & Poor’s issue credit ratings for a more detailed description of the effects of regulatory supervision on specific issues or classes of obligations.

SD and D - An obligor rated ‘SD’ (Selective Default) or ‘D’ has failed to pay one or more of its financial obligations (rated or unrated) when it came due. A ‘D’ rating is assigned when Standard & Poor’s believes that the default will be a general default and that the obligor will fail to pay all or substantially all of its obligations as they come due. An ‘SD’ rating is assigned when Standard & Poor’s believes that the obligor has selectively defaulted on a specific issue or class of obligations but it will continue to meet its payment obligations on other issues or classes of obligations in a timely manner. Please see Standard & Poor’s issue credit ratings for a more detailed description of the effects of a default on specific issues or classes of obligations.

NR - An issuer designated NR is not rated.

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Local Currency and Foreign Currency Risks
Country risk considerations are a standard part of Standard & Poor’s analysis for credit ratings on any issuer or issue. Currency of repayment is a key factor in this analysis. An obligor’s capacity to repay foreign currency obligations may be lower than its capacity to repay obligations in its local currency due to the sovereign government’s own relatively lower capacity to repay external versus domestic debt. These sovereign risk considerations are incorporated in the debt ratings assigned to specific issues. Foreign currency issuer ratings are also distinguished from local currency issuer ratings to identify those instances where sovereign risks make them different for the same issuer.
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CreditWatch
CreditWatch highlights the potential direction of a short- or long-term rating. It focuses on identifiable events and short-term trends that cause ratings to be placed under special surveillance by Standard & Poor’s analytical staff. These may include mergers, recapitalizations, voter referendums, regulatory action, or anticipated operating developments. Ratings appear on CreditWatch when such an event or a deviation from an expected trend occurs and additional information is necessary to evaluate the current rating. A listing, however, does not mean a rating change is inevitable, and whenever possible, a range of alternative ratings will be shown. CreditWatch is not intended to include all ratings under review, and rating changes may occur without the ratings having first appeared on CreditWatch. The "positive" designation means that a rating may be raised; "negative" means a rating may be lowered; and "developing" means that a rating may be raised, lowered, or affirmed.
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Outlook
A Standard & Poor’s Rating Outlook assesses the potential direction of a long-term credit rating over the intermediate to longer term. In determining a Rating Outlook, consideration is given to any changes in the economic and/or fundamental business conditions. An Outlook is not necessarily a precursor of a rating change or future CreditWatch action.
  • Positive means that a rating may be raised.
  • Negative means that a rating may be lowered.
  • Stable means that a rating is not likely to change.
  • Developing means a rating may be raised or lowered.
  • NM means not meaningful.
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Saturday, August 19, 2017