Fitch Ratings affirmed Noble Group’s BBB-minus rating with a stable outlook on Thursday, remaining the only agency to assign the coveted investment-grade rating on Asia’s biggest commodities trader.
The decision followed Noble‘s improved balance sheet and sufficient liquidity position on the back of its stake sale in Noble Agri Limited, its pledge to cut working capital needs for its metals unit, and continued cash flow generation from its operations, Fitch said.
Both S&P and Moody’s have cut Noble‘s rating to junk, sending its bonds and stocks tumbling. Its stock is trading at the lowest since October 2008.
Its credit default swaps contracts trade on an upfront basis and its CDS curve is inverted, an indication investors consider it a stressed credit.
Noble Group, already under pressure in a weak commodities market, came under the spotlight last February when blogger Iceberg Research alleged the company was inflating its assets by billions of dollars by not fairly representing the value of its commodity contracts. The company has rejected the claims.