NEW YORK — Moody’s trailing 12-month global speculative-grade default rate closed at 4.8% in August, which was unchanged from July. The ratings agency expects the 2016 default rate to peak at 5% in November and fall back to 3.6% a year from now.
“Our benign default outlook is consistent with relatively low high-yield spreads,” said Sharon Ou, vice-president and senior credit officer for Moody’s. “The default rate will likely remain under control as long as accommodating credit markets continue to provide sufficient liquidity for speculative-grade companies to refinance their debt as needed.”
Commodity sectors will remain under stress, according to Moody’s. In the United States, the metals and mining sector likely will have the highest default rate, followed by the oil and gas sector. Low oil prices will create cash flow problems for oil and gas companies, who will have a somewhat limited access to funding sources.
In Europe, fewer commodities companies are in “deep distress,” Moody’s said. The most troubled sector is expected to be media-focused: advertising, printing and publishing.
Moody’s expects the default rate in the United States to be at 6.2% by the end of the year. The rate then should ease to 4.5% 12 months down the road. In Europe, Moody’s expects the rate to be at 1.7% in December and 2.5% in August 2017.Seven Moody’s-related companies defaulted in August of this year, the lowest monthly count since January. Three oil and gas companies defaulted. The largest defaults in in August were California Resources Corp., DFC Finance Corp. and Toy ‘R’ US, Inc.