The following ratings scale applies to foreign currency and local currency ratings.
Highest credit quality. ’AAA’ ratings denote the lowest expectation of credit risk. They are assigned only in case of exceptionally strong capacity for timely payment of financial commitments. This capacity is highly unlikely to be adversely affected by foreseeable events.
Very high credit quality. ’AA’ ratings denote a very low expectation of credit risk. They indicate very strong capacity for timely payment of financial commitments. This capacity is not significantly vulnerable to foreseeable events.
High credit quality. ’A’ ratings denote a low expectation of credit risk. The capacity for timely payment of financial commitments is considered strong. This capacity may, nevertheless, be more vulnerable to changes in circumstances or in economic conditions than is the case for higher ratings.
Good credit quality. ’BBB’ ratings indicate that there is currently a low expectation of credit risk. The capacity for timely payment of financial commitments is considered adequate, but adverse changes in circumstances and in economic conditions are more likely to impair this capacity. This is the lowest investment-grade category.
Speculative. ’BB’ ratings indicate that there is a possibility of credit risk developing, particularly as the result of adverse economic change over time; however, business or financial alternatives may be available to allow financial commitments to be met. Securities rated in this category are not investment grade.
Highly speculative. ’B’ ratings indicate that significant credit risk is present, but a limited margin of safety remains. Financial commitments are currently being met; however, capacity for continued payment is contingent upon a sustained, favourable business and economic environment.
CCC, CC, C
High default risk. Default is a real possibility. Capacity for meeting financial commitments is solely reliant upon sustained, favourable business or economic developments. A ’CC’ rating indicates that default of some kind appears probable. ’C’ ratings signal imminent default.
DDD, DD, D
Default. The ratings of obligations in this category are based on their prospects for achieving partial or full recovery in a reorganization or liquidation of the obligor. While expected recovery values are highly speculative and cannot be estimated with any precision, the following serve as general guidelines. ’DDD’ obligations have the highest potential for recovery, around 90% — 100% of outstanding amounts and accrued interest. ‘DD’ indicates potential recoveries in the range of 50% — 90% and ’D’ the lowest recovery potential, i.e., below 50%.
Entities rated in this category have defaulted on some or all of their obligations. Entities rated ’DDD’ have the highest prospect for resumption of performance or continued operation with or without a formal reorganization process. Entities rated ’DD’ and ’D’ are generally undergoing a formal reorganization or liquidation process; those rated ’DD’ are likely to satisfy a higher portion of their outstanding obligations, while entities rated ’D’ have a poor prospect of repaying all obligations.