US leveraged loan defaults hit six-year high as coronavirus hits companies
(Reuters) – The monthly number of defaults in the US leveraged loan market has hit a six-year high, data from Fitch Ratings showed, as companies either fail to pay or file for bankruptcy as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Data from the rating agency Fitch Ratings, based on its US Leveraged Loan Default Index, showed that the total number of defaults in this high-risk, high-yield area of the bond markets was 12.6 billion in May.
According to Fitch, the total number of leveraged loans for the year to date is $ 33.3 billion.
(Chart: US leveraged loan monthly defaults -)
At the end of April, the failure rate for the past 12 months jumped to 2.8%, compared to just 1.8% at the end of last year. Fitch predicted that leveraged loan defaults in the US would hit $ 80 billion in 2020, surpassing the previous high of $ 78 billion in 2009.
(Graphic: trailing 12-month failure rate -)
According to Fitch’s data, U.S. retailers made up the bulk of the outages over the past two months as they were forced to temporarily close stores in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Chart: US loan defaults by sector -)
Fashion retailers Neiman Marcus Group, J.Crew Group Inc and JC Penney Co Inc JCP.N filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US earlier this month.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. CHK.N said earlier this month that it has no access to finance and is considering restructuring its over $ 9 billion debt if oil prices do not recover from the sharp decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reporting on Patturaja Murugaboopathy; Editing by Vidya Ranganathan and Jane Merriman