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Rating agencies, or credit rating agencies, evaluate the creditworthiness of organisations that issue debt in public markets. This includes the debts of corporations, nonprofit organisations, and governments, as well as “securitised assets” – which are assets that are bundled together and sold as a security to investors. Rating agencies assign a letter grade to each bond, which represents an opinion as to the likelihood that the organisation will be able to repay both the principal and interest as they become due.
(source: http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=rating-agencies)

rating

triple-A rating (AAA)

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