From local governments to the largest global corporations, our credit ratings, built upon rigorous, transparent methodologies, serve as a global language of credit.

Michael West
President of Moody’s Ratings

What is a credit rating?
Since John Moody devised the first bond ratings more than a century ago, our rating system has evolved in response to the increasing depth and breadth of the global capital markets. Much of the innovation in our 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.
Understanding credit ratings
As capital markets become increasingly global and interconnected, investors are faced with an extensive and often bewildering choice of investment opportunities. Learn how Moody's Ratings speaks to the relative credit risk of debt instruments and securities across industries and asset classes around the globe.
The rating scale
Ratings assigned on Moody’s Ratings global long-term and short-term rating scales are forward-looking opinions of the relative credit risks of financial obligations issued by non-financial corporates, financial institutions, structured finance vehicles, project finance vehicles, and public sector entities. The following is a ranking (from highest to lowest) of Moody's Ratings long-term and short-term categories.
Long-term ratings are opinions of the relative credit risk of financial obligations with an original maturity of one year or more. They address the possibility that a financial obligation will not be honored as promised. Such ratings use Moody’s Ratings Global Scale and reflect both the likelihood of default and any financial loss suffered in the event of default.


Obligations rated Aaa are judged to be of the highest quality, with minimal risk


Obligations rated Aa are judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk


Obligations rated A are considered upper medium-grade and are subject to low credit risk


Obligations rated Baa are subject to moderate credit risk. They are considered medium-grade and as such may possess speculative characteristics.


Obligations rated Ba are judged to have speculative elements and are subject to substantial credit risk


Obligations rated B are considered speculative and are subject to high credit risk


Obligations rated Caa are judged to be of poor standing and are subject to very high credit risk


Obligations rated Ca are highly speculative and are likely in, or very near, default, with some prospect of recovery in principal and interest


Obligations rated C are the lowest-rated class of bonds and are typically in default, with little prospect for recovery of principal and interest
Note: Moody’s Ratings appends numerical modifiers 1, 2, and 3 to each generic rating classification from Aa through Caa. Themodifier 1 indicates that the obligation ranks in the higher end of its generic rating category; the modifier 2 indicates amid-range ranking; and the modifier 3 indicates a ranking in the lower end of that generic rating category.
global SHORT-term rating scale
Short-term ratings, unlike our long-term ratings, apply to an individual issuer's capacity to repay all short-term obligations rather than to specific short-term borrowing programs.


Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-1 have a superior ability to repay short-term debt obligations


Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-2 have a strong ability to repay short-term debt obligations


Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-3 have an acceptable ability to repay short-term obligations


Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Not Prime do not fall within any of the Prime rating categories
Note: Canadian issuers rated P-1 or P-2 have their short-term ratings enhanced by the senior-most long-term rating of the issuer, its guarantor or support-provider.
Step 1
Once the rating application is contracted, the Moody's Ratings analytical team is assigned.
Step 2
Issuer shares company information with analytical team
Step 3
Management meeting with analytical team
The issuers management team meets with the Moody's Ratings analytical team to present the company information and discuss the materials. This phase may be accelerated in situations with tighter financing schedules, or for structured finance deals.
Step 4
Analytical team commences analysis and goes to rating committee
The rating committee is a key part of Moody's Ratings analytical process and helps to ensure the integrity and consistency of ratings. It reviews, votes and assigns the rating. After the rating committee, a post-committee call is held with the issuer to notify and explain the rating prior to its publication.
Step 5
Ratings and rationale are delivered
The issuer reviews the draft press release. The rating is then delivered through a press release available on and newswires (for private or unpublished ratings, nothing is shared publicly).
Step 6
Surveillance and dialogue is maintained with organizations for timely and relevant ratings.

*The monitoring phase does not apply to “point-in-time” ratings