More NewsCorporate Bond Default Rate Posts Largest Drop In Two Years

Corporate Bond Default Rate Posts Largest Drop In Two Years

Moody’s Investors Service reported that the default rate for speculative-grade corporate bond issuers posted its largest one-month decline since July 2000 in August, falling 0.5% to a level of 9.6%. The default rate has fallen for six out of the eight months in 2002, a sign that defaults by corporate bond issuers are reluctantly beating a retreat. Moody’s also released updated and revised forecasts for the global speculative-grade default rate. According to the latest forecast, the speculative-grade default rate is expected to end 2002 near 9.8% — little changed from its current level — but falling to about 8.5% by August 2003. Seven issuers defaulted on a total of $10.2 billion of bonds globally in August. Three issuers were domiciled in the US. One each came from Brazil, the UK, Argentina, and Sweden. Year-to-date 2002, the dollar volume of rated and non-rated defaulted debt totals $139.5 billion, already surpassing 2001’s record $135 billion. August’s largest defaults were Conseco, Inc. ($5.1 billion) and Marconi Corporation, PLC ($3.3. billion).

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