ABOUT CREDIT RATINGS

What Is A Rating?
  • Apr 15, 2015

This video explains who we are, what we do, and the advantages of getting a credit rating. Watch

  • May 27, 2014

Since 2008, we have made major revisions to several key ratings criteria, and many of these criteria changes have led to rating actions. As we continue to enhance our ratings criteria to achieve further consistency and comparability, a factor we call credit stability will continue to play a central role. More

  • Jun 03, 2009

Standard & Poor's is committed to taking action to help restore confidence in ratings. As one example, over the past year, we have launched a number of initiatives designed to foster greater transparency in our analytics and processes. These initiatives have included publishing "what-if" scenario analyses discussing factors that could cause ratings to change, more explicit discussions of the… More

Do Credit Spreads Measure Credit Risks?
  • Jan 03, 2011

Critics of traditional fundamental credit analysis have suggested that price signals from the bond and credit default swap markets may be superior to credit ratings. But understanding credit market dynamics is far more complicated and requires far more insight. The truth is that while credit… Watch

  • Jan 01, 2014

At Standard & Poor's, our rating process is generally similar for all issuers, including corporations, governments and financial institutions. The may be some differences, including with respect to rating structured finance instruments. These differences involve the way the process is initiated and conducted, the rating criteria and assumptions that apply, as well as the specific kinds of… More

  • Nov 20, 2014

This document contains Standard & Poor's rating definitions. The definitions are classified into two types; general-purpose credit ratings and special-purpose ratings. Standard & Poor's ratings scales use letters, numbers, and/or words to summarize the opinion. The rating definition provides the meaning of the letters, numbers and/or words. Additionally, some ratings are expressed with… More

PERFORMANCE

  • May 29, 2015

Every year, we publish default and transition studies that cover a range of asset classes--corporates, structured finance, public finance, and sovereigns, among others. More

  • May 12, 2015

U.S. corporate credit performed exceptionally well in 2014 as the number of rated companies defaulting declined to its lowest number since 2007. While the Federal Reserve completed its round of tapering, winding down its monthly large-scale asset purchases, interest rates for highly rated credits fell from already low levels. Corporate bond issuance surpassed $1 trillion for a third consecutive… More

  • Jun 22, 2015

Overall global structured finance credit quality declined again in 2014, with the number of rating downgrades still exceeding the number of upgrades. However, the rate of credit deterioration continued to slow significantly, and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services expects structured finance credit performance to improve slowly in line with the global economic outlook. More

  • May 05, 2015

U.S. public finance (USPF) exhibited growing credit strength in 2014, following a similar performance in 2013. Upgrades outpaced downgrades by a ratio of 3.38 to 1 for nonhousing bonds and 2.6 to 1 for housing bonds, for an overall ratio of 3.33 to 1. Positive rating trends were more evident across the various sectors as both housing and nonhousing bonds had more upgrades than downgrades in 2014… More

  • May 28, 2015

For emerging economies, 2014 presented some headwinds as well as opportunities. More

  • Apr 30, 2015

In a year marked by considerable geopolitical turmoil, the ending of the Federal Reserve's monthly asset purchases, and the steep decline in the price of oil, corporate borrowers fared very well by historical standards. In the full year, 60 global corporate issuers defaulted, considerably lower than the 81 last year and the lowest total since 2011. These 60 defaulted issuers accounted for a total … More

  • May 18, 2015

In 2014, one sovereign that we rate defaulted: We lowered the foreign-currency sovereign credit rating on Argentina to 'SD' from 'CCC-' in July after it failed to make an interest payment. More

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  • May 18, 2015
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In this CreditMatters TV segment, Diane Vazza, Head of Global Fixed Income Research, discusses the key takeaways from our annual sovereign default and rating transitions report. Topics include rating movements, sovereign defaults, and ratings performance across the globe. Watch

  • May 20, 2015

Six European corporate entities defaulted in 2014, affecting debt worth $4 billion. The annual corporate speculative-grade default rate in Europe declined to 0.97% in 2014 from 3.42% in 2013 and 2.24% in 2012. More

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  • May 19, 2015
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In this CreditMatters TV segment, Senior Director Jacinto Torres spotlights the key takeaways from our annual European default and rating transitions study, including how upgrades outpaced downgrades for the first time since 2007 and the number of defaults across the region. Watch

CRITERIA

  • Jul 31, 2014

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services’ corporate analytical methodology organizes the analytical process according to a common framework and divides the analysis into several steps so that we may consider all salient factors. The first step is analyzing a company’s business risk profile, followed by an evaluation of its financial risk profile. We combine our assessments to determine an issuer’s… More

  • Feb 24, 2014

On Nov. 19, 2013, we published our new criteria for rating nonfinancial corporate entities, the first significant update to our corporate ratings methodology since 2008. Through the new criteria, we sought to provide market constituents with greater insight into the ratings process, and enhance the global comparability of our ratings through a clear, comprehensive, and globally consistent… More

  • Dec 31, 2013

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services' criteria provide the analytical framework within which Standard & Poor's derives its rating opinions. Our criteria encompass broad principles for assessing our view of creditworthiness, the rating factors that are specific to the issuers and issues we rate, and the assumptions we generally make in our analyses. Our criteria entail a large body of analytical… More

  • Mar 23, 2015

We are clarifying our criteria as to what conditions must be met to raise an issue credit rating from 'D', or an issuer credit rating from 'D' or 'SD' (selective default). More

  • May 06, 2015

The events of the last several years highlighted the role of credit rating agencies in assessing sovereign creditworthiness. We are publishing this article to explain the basics of Standard & Poor's Ratings Services' sovereign rating methodology, and our sovereign rating process in general. Sovereign government bonds, which represent more than 40% of the stock of bonds issued globally, are a… More

  • Apr 03, 2014

Here, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services provides a step-by-step summary of how we use our insurance criteria to produce an issuer credit rating or a financial strength rating (ICR or FSR). First, using reported data and our own metrics, we evaluate an insurer's business risk profile and financial risk profile. For the business risk profile, we undertake a detailed analysis of industry and… More

  • Jul 08, 2013

This article provides in summary form a step-by-step guide to how our bank criteria work to produce an issuer credit rating. The process starts with our Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment (BICRA) methodology, a macro analysis of economic and industry risk. Next, we look at bank-specific characteristics: business position, capital and earnings, risk position, and funding and liquidity.… More

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