What is meant by Baa3?

Rating Scale

Soilbuild Business Space REIT has recently issued SGD100 million 3.60% fixed rate notes due 2021. Moody’s has given the notes a definitive rating of Baa3.

Honestly, when I saw the “Baa3” rating, I did not understand what it means. I thought it must be something good. It is very common for REITS to issue notes for refinancing when its debt is due and often I see crediting rating agencies such as Moody’s give a rating for the notes issued.

After some research, I found the below scale used by Moody’s on its website. It is known as Global Long Term Rating Scale.

Credit RatingDescription
AaaObligations rated Aaa are judged to be of the highest quality, subject to the lowest level of credit risk.
AaObligations rated Aa are judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk.
AObligations rated A are judged to be upper-medium grade and are subject to low credit risk.
BaaObligations rated Baa are judged to be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.
BaObligations rated Ba are judged to be speculative and are subject to substantial credit risk.
BObligations rated B are considered speculative and are subject to high credit risk.
CaaObligations rated Caa are judged to be speculative of poor standing and are subject to very high credit risk.
CaObligations rated Ca are highly speculative and are likely in, or very near, default, with some prospect of recovery of principal and interest.
CObligations rated C are the lowest rated and are typically in default, with little prospect for recovery of principal or interest.

Note: Moody’s appends numerical modifiers 1, 2, and 3 to each generic rating classification from Aa through Caa. The modifier 1 indicates that the obligation ranks in the higher end of its generic rating category; the modifier 2 indicates a mid-range ranking; and the modifier 3 indicates a ranking in the lower end of that generic rating category. Additionally, a “(hyb)” indicator is appended to all ratings of hybrid securities issued by banks, insurers, finance companies, and securities firms.*