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Rating Symbols and Definitions

Issuer Rating

     An Issuer Rating is R&I's opinion on an issuer's general capacity to fulfill its financial obligations and is, in principle, assigned to all issuers.

AAA Highest creditworthiness supported by many excellent factors.
AA Very high creditworthiness supported by some excellent factors.
A High creditworthiness supported by a few excellent factors.
BBB Creditworthiness is sufficient, though some factors require attention in times of major environmental changes.
BB Creditworthiness is sufficient for the time being, though some factors require due attention in times of environmental changes.
B Creditworthiness is questionable and some factors require constant attention.
CCC Creditworthiness is highly questionable and a financial obligation of an issuer is likely to default.
CC All of the financial obligations of an issuer are likely to default.
D R&I believes that all of the financial obligations of an issuer are in default.

* A plus (+) or minus (-) sign may be appended to the categories from AA to CCC to indicate relative standing within each rating category. The plus and minus signs are part of the rating symbols.

Long-term Issue Rating

     A Long-term Issue Rating is R&I's opinion on the certainty of the fulfillment of an issuer's individual financial obligations as promised. In addition to the probability of default, a Long-term Issue Rating also assesses the probability of recovery (probability of losses in the event of default). Therefore, it may be lower or higher than the Issuer Rating.
     The definitions of a Long-term Issue Rating are also applicable to MTN programs and Shelf Registrations.
     For structured finance products, "default" in the definitions of CCC, CC and C categories includes "payment shortfall." 

AAA Highest creditworthiness supported by many excellent factors.
AA Very high creditworthiness supported by some excellent factors.
A High creditworthiness supported by a few excellent factors.
BBB Creditworthiness is sufficient, though some factors require attention in times of major environmental changes.
BB Creditworthiness is sufficient for the time being, though some factors require due attention in times of environmental changes.
B Creditworthiness is questionable and some factors require constant attention.
CCC An obligation is in default or is likely to default. The obligation in default may not be recovered in full.
CC An obligation is in default or is highly likely to default. The obligation in default may only be partially recovered.
C An obligation is in default and may hardly be recovered.

* A plus (+) or minus (-) sign may be appended to the categories from AA to CCC to indicate relative standing within each rating category. The signs may also be appended to the CC category if the Long-term Issue Rating differs from the Issuer Rating, reflecting the terms and recoverability of the obligation. The plus and minus signs are part of the rating symbols.

Short-term Rating

     A Short-term Rating is R&I's opinion on the certainty of the fulfillment of an issuer's short-term financial obligations as promised. A Short-term Rating is assigned to short-term programs such as commercial paper programs, an issuer's ability to repay short-term financial obligations, and individual short-term obligations.

a-1 Certainty of the fulfillment of a short-term obligation is high.
a-2 Certainty of the fulfillment of a short-term obligation is high, though some factors require attention.
a-3 Certainty of the fulfillment of a short-term obligation is sufficient for the time being, though some factors require attention in times of major environmental changes.
b Certainty of the fulfillment of a short-term obligation is not equal to that of a short-term obligation rated in the 'a' categories and some factors require attention.
c The lowest rating. A short-term obligation is in default or is highly likely to default.

* A plus (+) sign may be appended to the a-1 category to indicate a particularly high level of the certainty. The plus sign is part of the rating symbols.

Insurance Claims Paying Ability

     An Insurance Claims Paying Ability is R&I's opinion on the certainty of the fulfillment of an insurer's insurance obligations as promised. It is not R&I's opinion on any specific policy or contract.

AAA Highest claims paying ability supported by many excellent factors.
AA Very high claims paying ability supported by some excellent factors.
A High claims paying ability supported by a few excellent factors.
BBB Claims paying ability is sufficient, though some factors require attention in times of major environmental changes.
BB Claims paying ability is sufficient for the time being, though some factors require due attention in times of environmental changes.
B Claims paying ability is questionable and some factors require constant attention.
CCC Insurance claims payment is in default or is likely to default. Claims in default may not be recovered in full.
CC Insurance claims payment is in default or is highly likely to default. Claims in default may only be partially recovered.
C Insurance claims payment is in default and may hardly be recovered.

* A plus (+) or minus (-) sign may be appended to the categories from AA to CCC to indicate relative standing within each rating category. The plus and minus signs are part of the rating symbols.

* Qualifiers

‘op’
     R&I may determine a credit rating at its discretion without a solicitation from any rating stakeholder. The rating symbols are the same as those used for solicited credit ratings. Therefore, in order to distinguish unsolicited credit ratings from solicited credit ratings, "op" is suffixed to the symbols to indicate unsolicited credit ratings, except those for sovereigns. 

Rating Outlooks

     A Rating Outlook is R&I's opinion concerning the medium term prospects for Issuer Ratings and Insurance Claims Paying Ability. Rating Outlooks are either Positive, Negative, Stable or Developing.
     A Positive or Negative Outlook is not a statement indicating a future change of a rating. If neither a Positive nor Negative Outlook is appropriate, a Stable Outlook is assigned. Even the rating of an issuer with a Stable Outlook may, depending on circumstances, be changed without any change of the Rating Outlook. For a rating that could be assigned either a Positive, Negative or Stable Outlook, the Outlook may be restrictively described as "Developing."
     For Issuer Ratings and Insurance Claims Paying Ability in the CCC category or lower, a Rating Outlook may not be assigned. When an Issuer Rating or Insurance Claims Paying Ability is placed on the Rating Monitor, a Rating Outlook will not be shown until it is removed from the Rating Monitor. 

Rating Monitor

     The Rating Monitor is used to indicate that a rating is under special review because R&I judges that the rating may be changed. The Rating Monitor has three directions: "a view to upgrading," "a view to downgrading," and "direction uncertain." The rating on the Rating Monitor is indicated with brackets. Regardless of the possibility of a rating change, a rating may be on the Rating Monitor with "direction uncertain" to indicate that an event that could affect the creditworthiness has occurred.
     Rating could be placed on the Rating Monitor in the event of mergers, takeovers, capital tie-ups, or any other events that have a material impact on the issuer's business, a sudden deterioration in operational performance, and major changes in the issuer's operational environment. A review of rating on the Rating Monitor generally requires a short period of time. Depending on the reason for the placement on the Rating Monitor, however, a review may take a relatively long time.

     A view to upgrading: The rating may be upgraded.
     A view to downgrading: The rating may be downgraded.
     Direction uncertain: The rating may be upgraded or downgraded.