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About credit ratings

A credit rating is an assessment of the borrower's creditworthiness in general or a creditworthiness of its specific debt obligations. An assigned rating is not a recommendation of a rating agency to purchase, sale or keep certain debt instruments of the borrower. A credit rating is a conclusion about the ability and willingness of the borrower at a particular moment to timely serve and repay its debt obligations.

A credit rating is based on information obtained by a rating agency from the issuer and other sources admitted by the agency as reliable. A credit rating may be changed, suspended or withdrawn if the borrower's creditworthiness is changed, or it is established that information which served as the basis for the credit rating is invalid, or the issuer fails to provide the agency with data needed for the analysis of the rating.

In the course of the analysis of a credit rating the following factors are taken into account:

  • the likelihood of accurate, complete and timely servicing and repayment of the borrower's debt obligations;
  • protective factors (such as the stability of the borrower, availability of the obligations’ security, etc.) taking into consideration their parameters;
  • the scope of rights of creditors in case of bankruptcy of the borrower, its reorganization or other transformation governed by the laws of bankruptcy and other laws protecting creditors’ rights.

Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings are considered the leaders of the international rating agencies. The data rating scales of these agencies have a similar structure. The highest category rating is Aaa (AAA, AAA), the lowest is C (SD, D). The signs “+” or “–” characterize the relative position of the rating within the category.

Debt obligations rated Aaa (AAA, AAA) are the most reliable. The payment of interest thereon and repayment of principal amount are protected by a large and/or extremely stable reserve, thus the contribution is guaranteed or virtually guaranteed.

Obligations rated Aa (AA, AA) are characterized by a very high reliability in terms of payment of interest thereon and repayment of the principal amount. Such obligations are rated somewhat lower because their protective reserve may be not so large as the reserve for the previous category of obligations, or parameters of their protective factors vary within a wider range. Also, the presence of other risk elements is not excluded.

Debt obligations rated A (A, A) are obligations of high investment characteristics. Along with that, they are somewhat weaker than the obligations of the preceding categories. These obligations depend on unfavorable changes in economic and financial conditions, which in future may lead to a deterioration in the creditworthiness of the issuer.

Obligations rated Baa (BBB, BBB) belong to a middle class of reliability. They can be assessed neither as well protected nor as poorly secured. The probability of interest and principal amount payments under such obligations appears to be relatively high in the short term, but in the long run a number of their protective elements may have a low degree of reliability or be unavailable.

Debt obligations rated Ba (BB, BB) are reliable in the short term. They do not have clearly expressed investment characteristics and can often be speculative. The probability of interest and principal amount payments under such obligations is high in the short term, but is exposed to possible adverse legislative, financial and economic factors.

Obligations relating to category B (B, B) have strong speculative characteristics. They are also characterized by a higher exposure to adverse legislative, financial and economic factors as compared with obligations of the preceding categories. In the short term, the probability of interest and principal amount payments under such obligations is relatively high.

Debt obligations characterized by rating Caa (CCC, CCC) have clearly expressed speculative characteristics, are highly susceptible to the influence of adverse factors and have a high degree of uncertainty in terms of their timely servicing and repayment.

Rating C (SD, D) characterizes obligations with an extremely high degree of risks. Under even slight worsening of the borrower’s creditworthiness the rating is usually revoked.


Table of ratings


Moody's Standart & Poor's Fitch
Investment rating
Aaa AAA AAA
Aa1 AA+ AA+
Aa2 AA AA
Aa3 AA- AA-
A1 A+ A+
A2 A A
A3 A- A-
Baa1 BBB+ BBB+
Baa2 BBB BBB
Baa3 BBB- BBB-
Speculative rating
Ba1 BB+ BB+
Ba2 BB BB
Ba3 BB- BB-
B1 B+ B+
B2 B B
B3 B- B-
Caa1 CCC+ CCC+
Caa2 CCC CCC
Caa3 CCC- CCC-
CC CC
C C
Ca D DDD
C DD
SD (selective default)

Additional materials:

  Standard & Poor's:
GUIDE TO CREDIT RATING ESSENTIALS