Long-term rating system
Each rating agency uses its own long-term rating scales which have about 10 or so grades. Long-term rating covers debts of over one year.
- Moody's: This agency uses a rating made up of upper and lower case letters. From the most to the least favourable, the scale is as follows: Aaa, Aa, A, Baa, Ba, B, Caa, Ca, C. The rating is refined by a figure from 1 to 3, which indicates the company's position within a category.
- Fitch: This agency use a rating scale in upper case letters. From the most to the least favourable: AAA, AA, A, BBB, BB, B, CCC, CC, C, D. The rating is refined by a + or -, according to whether the company is located in the higher or lower end of a given category.
Agencies include an outlook with each rating: this is the agency's opinion of the evolution in the quality of the company's credit.