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Default, Transition, and Recovery: Global Corporate Default Tally Remains At Four


Credit Trends: U.S. Public Finance Ended 2020 With A Rise In Downgrades


Default, Transition, and Recovery: Three Distressed Exchanges Push The 2021 Corporate Default Tally To 14


Default, Transition, and Recovery: The European Speculative-Grade Corporate Default Rate Could Reach 6.5% By December 2021


ESG Concerns In Oil And Gas Sectors Led To A Surge In Downgrade Pressure In January, Which Was Realized By Mid-February

Default, Transition, and Recovery: Global Corporate Default Tally Remains At Four

Global corporate defaults in 2021 remain at four, with no defaults this week. Although still early in the year, defaults are lower than at this time last year. Moreover, there were six defaults at this point in each of the prior three years. All four defaults in 2021 have been related to distressed exchanges--one each from the oil and gas, retail and restaurants, media and entertainment, and high technology sectors.

In 2020, the oil and gas sector led defaults with 50, just below its all-time full-year high of 61 in 2016. Although there were some positive outlook revisions on oil and gas issuers in the fourth quarter of 2020, exploration and production, refining, and oilfield services and drilling issuers remain highly sensitive to the impact from COVID-19, with revenue not expected to recover until 2023 (see "Industry Top Trends 2021: Oil And Gas Industry Continues To Face Headwinds").

Chart 1


Trailing-12-Month Default Rates

  • The trailing-12-month speculative-grade default rate increased slightly for the U.S. to 6.6% in December 2020 from 6.4% in November 2020, while the same for Europe remained at 5.3% in the same period (see table 1).
  • The trailing-12-month speculative-grade default for the global energy and natural resources sector increased to 14.9% in December 2020 from 14.2% in November 2020, while the same for the global consumer and services sector decreased to 9.0% from 9.4% in the same period (see chart 6).

Chart 2


Chart 3


Chart 4


Chart 5


Chart 6


Table 1

The U.S. Leads 2021 Corporate Default Tally, With Three
Region 12-month-trailing speculative-grade default rate (%) 2021 2020 2019 Weakest links
U.S. 6.6 3 146 78 338
Emerging markets 3.1 0 28 22 35
Europe 5.3 1 42 15 85
Other developed 5.9 0 10 3 24
Global 5.5 4 226 118 482
Note: Trailing-12-month default rates from Dec. 31, 2019-Dec. 31, 2020, are preliminary and subject to change. Year-to-date data as of Jan. 20, 2021. Weakest link data is as of Dec. 28, 2020. Other developed region is Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand. Default counts may include confidentially rated issuers. Sources: S&P Global Ratings Research and S&P Global Market Intelligence’s CreditPro®.

Table 2

The 2021 Global Corporate Default Tally At Four
Date Parent company Country Subsector To From Reason

HGIM Corp.

U.S. Oil and gas SD CC Distressed exchange

Promotora de Informaciones S.A.

Spain Media and entertainment SD CC Distressed exchange

Burger BossCo Intermediate Inc.

U.S. Retail/restaurants SD CCC Distressed exchange

Riverbed Parent Inc.

U.S. High technology SD CC Distressed exchange
SD--Selective default. Data as of Jan. 20, 2021. Sources: S&P Global Ratings Research and S&P Global Market Intelligence’s CreditPro®.

Related Research

Default Studies

More analysis and statistics are available in our annual default studies, published on RatingsDirect:

Corporate (financial and nonfinancial)
Structured finance
U.S. public finance
Sovereign and international public finance

This report does not constitute a rating action.

Credit Markets Research:Nicole Serino, New York + 1 (212) 438 1396;
Sudeep K Kesh, New York (1) 212-438-7982;
Research Contributor:Shripati Pranshu, Mumbai;

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