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Credit Trends: Global Refinancing--Rated Corporate Debt Due Through 2025 Totals $11.3 Trillion

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Credit Trends: Global Refinancing--Rated Corporate Debt Due Through 2025 Totals $11.3 Trillion

S&P Global Ratings rates $11.32 trillion in rated corporate debt (including bonds, loans, and revolving credit facilities) that's set to mature globally from Jan. 1, 2021, through Dec. 31, 2025. The amount of debt maturing over this period has risen by 6.6% year over year after record-shattering volumes of investment-grade (rated 'BBB-' and higher) and speculative-grade (rated 'BB+' and lower) bond issuance in 2020. Companies have lengthened maturities--debt maturing in 2021 has been reduced by 10% while 2025 maturities have increased by 35% (see chart 1).

Chart 1

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Annual rated global corporate bond issuance surpassed $3.0 trillion for the first time in 2020. Swift action by central banks globally to support funding conditions in the capital markets helped counter the economic shocks from COVID-19 and helped propel issuance to new highs. Most of these proceeds were used by companies for general corporate purposes and to refinance debt. With central banks pledging to keep interest rates lower for longer, investor demand ran high for the new issuance, pushing yields down at all rating levels, even as maturities were lengthened.

Yesterday's Issuance, Tomorrow's Maturities

Investment grade

Investment-grade corporate bond issuance volume jumped by 29% in 2020, reaching a new one-year high, with $2.6 trillion in new volume. While this new issuance contributed to an increase in the amount of investment-grade debt scheduled to mature through 2025, the bond market has shown more than sufficient liquidity in recent years for companies to refinance maturing debt obligations, barring any acute or prolonged recession or capital market disruption.

Investment-grade bond maturities peak in 2022, when $1.7 trillion in global debt from financial and nonfinancial corporates is scheduled to mature. By comparison, investment-grade bond issuance has exceeded that level in each of the past seven years, with new issuance averaging more than $2.1 trillion annually since 2013 (see chart 2).

This new issuance contributed to a 6.2% increase (to $16.98 trillion) in the total amount of outstanding investment-grade debt instruments (including bonds, notes, loans, revolving credit facilities, and perpetuals--including instruments maturing after 2025) since the start of 2020 (see chart 3). 49% of this debt is set to mature through the end of 2025.

Chart 2

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Chart 3

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Speculative grade

Expectations of lower-for-longer interest rates led to a shift in investor demand toward fixed-rate bonds from floating-rate leveraged loans. While speculative-grade bond issuance jumped more than 50% in 2020, reaching a new high of $539 billion, leveraged loan issuance declined by 20%. Total leveraged finance issuance (including leveraged loans, as well as speculative-grade bonds) increased by a more modest 7% year over year.

Annual maturities for speculative-grade debt of $244 billion in 2021 and $427 billion in 2022 remain far below recent years' volume of leveraged finance issuance (which has averaged $1 trillion annually for the past four years). Speculative-grade maturities rise in later years, reaching a peak of $934 billion in 2025. But even the amount set to mature in that peak year is less than the amount of new debt issued annually over the past four years. Since companies have several years to refinance, pay down, or otherwise reduce their maturity wall before it reaches a peak in 2025, we expect capital markets will generate sufficient liquidity to meet maturing debt demands (see chart 4).

Chart 4

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Even with the decline in leveraged loan issuance, the total amount of speculative-grade debt instruments outstanding increased by 12.5% year over year, to $5.2 trillion by the end of 2020 (see chart 5). In addition to issuance, a number of fallen angels that were downgraded to speculative grade from investment grade contributed to this growth in the level of speculative-grade debt.

Chart 5

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Overview Of Corporate Debt Maturing Through 2025

The majority (about 74%) of the debt maturing through 2025 is investment grade. Investors continue to display strong demand for investment-grade debt, and we expect debt capital markets will provide more than sufficient funding for these companies to meet maturity demands.

By sector, nonfinancial corporates account for 62% of the debt maturing through 2025, and financial services account for the other 38%. Investment-grade debt maturing through 2025 is nearly evenly split between financial and nonfinancial issuers, with 49% and 51%, respectively. By contrast, nearly 92% of speculative-grade debt maturing through 2025 is from nonfinancial issuers.

Chart 6a

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Chart 6b

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By region, the U.S. (including the tax havens of Bermuda and Cayman Islands) accounts for 44% of the debt, Europe 39%, and the other developed region (which includes Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand) accounts for 10%. Emerging market debt accounts for 7% of maturities through 2025, reflecting (in part) that a narrower slice of the foreign market debt is rated by S&P Global Ratings. Since this study reviews the maturity wall of rated corporate debt, coverage is limited where markets are less mature and a lower proportion of debt is rated.

Table 1

Global Schedule For Maturing Corporate Debt
(Bil. $) 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 Total
U.S.
Financials
Investment grade 212.2 228.4 231.3 186.8 184.6 1,043.3
Speculative grade 7.8 19.2 23.8 18.5 45.3 114.7
Nonfinancials
Investment grade 362.3 428.0 474.2 396.2 445.8 2,106.6
Speculative grade 122.3 239.0 337.9 489.0 558.4 1,746.6
Total U.S. 704.6 914.7 1,067.3 1,090.5 1,234.1 5,011.1
Europe
Financials
Investment grade 462.1 516.9 492.6 355.6 362.7 2,189.9
Speculative grade 6.8 11.8 12.2 14.1 15.1 60.0
Nonfinancials
Investment grade 295.2 351.7 289.6 292.1 279.4 1,507.9
Speculative grade 58.9 85.2 134.1 189.1 212.6 679.9
Total Europe 823.1 965.6 928.3 850.9 869.9 4,437.8
Other developed
Financials
Investment grade 152.3 141.4 134.5 114.4 75.0 617.6
Speculative grade 1.7 2.0 2.6 5.4 11.6
Nonfinancials
Investment grade 83.3 80.4 74.0 49.9 53.1 340.7
Speculative grade 10.4 22.6 30.1 23.9 51.2 138.1
Total other developed 246.0 246.1 240.5 190.8 184.6 1,107.9
Emerging markets
Financials
Investment grade 50.3 49.7 41.0 35.1 33.0 209.0
Speculative grade 3.1 11.2 9.9 7.9 7.9 40.0
Nonfinancials
Investment grade 57.1 83.4 71.3 63.0 56.3 331.0
Speculative grade 35.1 36.1 36.2 38.9 38.0 184.2
Total emerging markets 145.5 180.3 158.3 144.8 135.3 764.3
Totals
Total investment grade 1,674.8 1,879.9 1,808.4 1,493.1 1,489.9 8,346.0
Total speculative grade 244.4 426.7 586.1 783.9 933.9 2,975.1
Total financials 894.7 980.2 947.2 734.9 729.1 4,286.1
Total nonfinancials 1,024.5 1,326.4 1,447.3 1,542.1 1,694.7 7,035.1
Grand total 1,919.2 2,306.6 2,394.5 2,277.1 2,423.8 11,321.2
Note: Data as of Jan. 1, 2021. Includes bonds, loans, and revolving credit facilities that are rated by S&P Global Ratings. Foreign currencies are converted to U.S. dollars at the exchange rate on close of business on Jan. 1, 2021. Source: S&P Global Ratings Research.

The $11.32 trillion in global debt scheduled to mature through 2025 represents about 51.1% of total rated debt, including maturities after 2025 (see table 2). This is slightly lower from a year ago, when 51.6% of total rated debt was set to mature within the next five years.

Table 2

Global Debt Amount By Rating
--Bil. $-- --% of total--
Rating category Financial Nonfinancial Total Financial Nonfinancial Total
AAA 895.6 85.7 981.3 4 0 4
AA 1,013.4 697.2 1,710.6 5 3 8
A 2,743.2 2,903.0 5,646.1 12 13 25
BBB 2,569.9 6,067.5 8,637.3 12 27 39
BB 471.0 2,090.1 2,561.1 2 9 12
B 146.5 1,927.9 2,074.5 1 9 9
CCC/Below 16.6 519.9 536.6 0 2 2
Investment grade 7,222.0 9,753.3 16,975.3 33 44 77
Speculative grade 634.2 4,537.9 5,172.2 3 20 23
Total 7,856.2 14,291.2 22,147.5 35 65 100
Note: Includes bonds, notes, loans, and revolving credit facilities rated by S&P Global Ratings that were outstanding as of Jan. 1, 2021. Includes instruments maturing after 2025. Foreign currencies are converted to U.S. dollars at the exchange rate on close of business on Jan. 1, 2021. Source: S&P Global Ratings Research.

Nonfinancial Corporate Maturities Rise Through 2025

Nonfinancial companies have several years before their maturity wall reaches its peak. As of Jan. 1, 2020, these maturities were set to reach a peak in 2024 of $1.5 trillion. After record issuance and refinancing activity in 2020, a greater amount, $1.69 trillion, of nonfinancial corporate debt is now scheduled to mature in 2025 (see chart 7).

Chart 7

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Nonfinancial corporate bond issuance reached new heights in 2020. Issuance volume surged 44% year over year to $1.8 trillion. Much of this was used to refinance upcoming debt maturities, helping companies lengthen the maturity wall. Over the past year, nonfinancial companies reduced the amount of debt maturing in the next two years by 10%. This pull-forward rate for nonfinancials globally in 2020 was largely in line with what we saw in 2019, when global nonfinancial companies lowered maturities in the following two years by 11%. Much of the new debt issued in 2020 had maturities of five years or more, and the amount of debt scheduled to mature in 2025 has risen by 32% since Jan. 1, 2020. While debt maturing in these latter years is rising, we view it as a positive that companies have several years to refinance or otherwise pay it down before it reaches maturity.

By rating category, investment grade represents 61% of nonfinancial corporate debt maturing through 2025--and an even higher share of near-term maturities. Riskier speculative-grade debt is just 26% of the nonfinancial debt maturing in 2021 and 2022.

By rating category, the 'BBB' rating category accounts for the largest share of nonfinancial debt maturing through 2025, at 39%, or $2.75 trillion (see chart 8). Investment-grade debt is often issued with a longer tenor than speculative-grade debt, and much of recent 'BBB' issuance volume is for debt scheduled to mature after 2025. When we take corporate debt of all maturity lengths (including after 2025), the 'BBB' category represents a slightly higher share of all nonfinancial debt at 42.5%.

The 'BBB' category is the lowest within investment grade; issuers face higher funding costs if their debt is downgraded into speculative grade. Less than one-third of 'BBB' category debt maturing through 2025 is rated 'BBB-' (with $816 billion), the lowest investment-grade rating level.

Chart 8

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Speculative-Grade Nonfinancial Maturities Reach A Peak of $860.2 Billion In 2025

While speculative grade accounts for a relatively small share of debt maturing in 2021 and 2022, this share rises sharply in later years, reaching a peak of $860.2 billion in 2025, when they eventually exceed investment-grade maturities (see chart 9).

Chart 9

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In the near term, speculative-grade maturities are largely concentrated in the 'BB' rating category, the highest within speculative grade. Nearly two-thirds of speculative-grade debt maturing in 2021 is rated in the 'BB' category. Investor demand for debt at this level is still strong, and secondary market bond yields remain near all-time lows.

Despite the pandemic and disruption in the credit markets in March-April 2020, financing conditions for speculative-grade issuers were broadly accommodative for much of 2020. Companies reduced speculative-grade nonfinancial debt maturing in 2021 by nearly 29% (to $226.6 billion). With most of this new debt from 2020 issued with a five- to eight-year tenor, maturities in 2025 rose by 27% to $860.2 billion (see chart 10).

Chart 10

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As debt nears maturity, those issuers with debt at the lowest rating levels are the ones most likely to face funding and liquidity challenges. Although this highest-risk credit (rated 'B-' or lower) accounts for just a small share of debt maturing in 2021, it grows in subsequent years. $265.5 billion (nearly 31%) of the speculative-grade debt scheduled to mature in 2025 is rated 'B-' and lower.

While financing conditions have recently been accommodative for debt rated at these low levels, we saw during the credit dislocation in March-April 2020 that investor demand and the availability of funding can quickly disappear during periods of market stress. While liquidity for this risky credit currently appears to be sufficient, financing conditions can quickly turn. Therefore, we take it as a positive that companies have several years before the largest sums of 'B-' and lower debt reach maturity, offering companies a wide window in which to refinance (see chart 11).

Chart 11

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Revolver Levels Show Modest Increase

About $547.7 billion in rated revolving credit facilities from nonfinancial companies is scheduled to mature in 2021 through 2025, drawn as well as undrawn (see chart 12). The revolving credit maturing over this period has risen by 5% since Jan. 1, 2020. While notable, it is much less than some may have expected due to the sharp drawdown of cash from revolvers that took place in the first half of 2020.

In March and April alone, U.S. companies drew down more than $316 billion (according to Leveraged Commentary & Data) from their revolving credit facilities, seeking to shore up their cash at a time when the primary issuance market was largely frozen. Much of this drawdown is estimated to have been paid back through subsequent bond issuance. Just 9% of the currently outstanding revolving credit facilities were issued in 2020; the majority were issued in 2017-2019.

Chart 12

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Consumer Products And Utilities Have The Most Nonfinancial Corporate Debt Maturing Through 2025

Among the nonfinancial sectors, consumer products and utilities have the highest amount of debt maturing through 2025, and media and entertainment has the highest amount of speculative-grade debt maturing (see table 3).

Table 3

Maturing Debt By Major Nonfinancial Sectors
--Investment grade-- --Speculative grade--
(Bil. $) 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 Total
Aerospace and defense 9.1 10.2 17.2 8.6 19.5 7.3 6.3 9.2 19.5 24.6 131.5
Automotive 111.0 88.4 89.8 56.0 44.2 30.4 30.0 32.0 45.7 43.7 571.3
Capital goods 51.4 56.6 46.4 34.2 31.0 7.4 9.0 18.1 33.0 45.1 332.3
Consumer products 82.2 90.3 91.2 82.2 83.0 9.2 38.9 61.3 78.7 105.3 722.2
Chemicals, packaging, and environmental services 28.0 46.0 37.6 41.4 33.7 11.0 17.8 35.5 58.4 52.3 361.8
Diversified 1.2 2.1 1.5 2.7 1.3 0.0 0.0 0.5 1.4 0.0 10.7
Forest products and building materials 15.0 15.8 13.0 12.6 13.4 1.9 5.1 10.4 17.2 20.4 124.7
Health care 61.6 79.5 77.1 67.5 71.2 16.8 36.7 53.6 72.4 108.3 644.6
High technology 78.3 73.0 91.5 65.6 71.7 6.8 21.3 41.1 70.7 80.3 600.3
Homebuilders/real estate companies. 26.5 43.7 46.7 51.7 54.9 21.9 27.6 22.3 20.4 22.5 338.1
Media and entertainment (including leisure) 28.4 32.1 35.4 47.4 38.5 17.1 57.3 81.5 138.3 138.0 613.9
Metals, mining, and steel 22.0 29.4 19.6 15.5 12.9 6.2 12.7 16.3 16.0 21.4 172.0
Oil and gas 47.1 87.0 70.7 65.7 69.1 30.6 35.4 31.7 28.9 36.1 502.3
Retail/restaurants 34.6 42.8 37.9 34.3 36.8 8.1 18.5 34.4 32.1 44.1 323.4
Telecommunications 52.3 64.0 69.5 62.2 84.2 27.9 33.8 40.0 54.8 64.8 553.6
Transportation 38.0 43.3 52.5 43.9 54.4 13.4 17.1 20.2 25.7 23.6 332.1
Utilities 111.3 139.4 111.4 109.7 114.7 10.8 15.4 30.1 27.9 29.7 700.4
Total 797.9 943.5 909.1 801.2 834.5 226.6 382.9 538.2 740.9 860.2 7,035.1
Note: Data as of Jan. 1, 2021. Includes bonds, loans, and revolving credit facilities that are rated by S&P Global Ratings. Excludes debt instruments that do not have a global scale rating. Foreign currencies are converted to U.S. dollars at the exchange rate on close of business on Jan. 1, 2021. Source: S&P Global Ratings Research.

The consumer products sector has the highest debt volume scheduled to mature globally through 2025, at $722.2 billion. The majority (59%) of this debt is investment grade. While large, branded staple companies in this sector have seen an uptick in demand during the pandemic, discretionary subsectors, including restaurant service and luxury, faced a steeper decline and a longer path to recovery.

Utilities have $700.4 billion in debt instruments scheduled to mature through 2025. Of all the nonfinancial sectors, utilities has the highest proportion of investment-grade debt maturing through 2025 (84%). These high ratings reflect the regulated nature of much of the industry. We expect funding demand from utilities to remain high in upcoming years, fueled by capital expenditure to reduce carbon emissions and investment in critical infrastructure projects.

For speculative-grade debt maturing through 2025, the media and entertainment sector leads with $432.2 billion. Speculative grade accounts for 70% of the sector's debt maturing through 2025--the highest proportion among all sectors. Credit quality for out-of-home entertainment issuers--such as those in the leisure, live events, and movie exhibitors subsectors--has been hard hit by the pandemic and social distancing measures. A full recovery for this sector will depend on consumer behavior as the pandemic ends, with a return to more normal levels possible once vaccines become widely available. While we think a full recovery to 2019 revenue levels is unlikely before 2022, a relatively small share of the sector's speculative-grade debt is set to mature in 2021 and 2022.

Financial Services Debt Maturities Peak In 2022 At $980.2 Billion

Financial services have $4.29 trillion in rated debt that is scheduled to mature through 2025, with maturities rising to a peak of $980.2 billion in 2022.

Financial services issuers were active issuers of new debt in 2020. This issuance has added to the amount of debt maturing in upcoming years; debt maturing in 2021 dipped by 2% to $894.7 billion in 2020. This pace of debt reduction for the upcoming year's maturities was lower than in 2019, when the upcoming year's maturities fell by 15%.

In 2020, the amount of financial services debt maturing in the upcoming five years rose by 14%--considerably steeper than in 2019, when maturities in the following five years declined by 1% (see chart 13). Year over year, the largest increase was from European financial services issuers, somewhat reflecting the effect of exchange rates and the weakening dollar. Additionally, financial services' bond issuance rose by nearly 15% in 2020, contributing to the increase in maturities through 2025.

Chart 13

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Even with maturity levels rising for financial services in upcoming years, capital markets have shown more than sufficient capability to meet refinancing demands. While financial services' bond maturities remain below $1 trillion annually through 2025, financial services bond issuance has held above $1.2 trillion annually over the past seven years (see chart 14).

Chart 14

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95% Of Financial Services Debt Maturing Through 2025 Is Investment Grade

Most debt from financial services issuers is highly rated. Almost 95% of this debt maturing through 2025 is investment grade; the largest share is in the 'A' category, at 39%, or $1.7 trillion (see chart 15).

This financial services debt is largely from banks and financial institutions; insurers account for less than 10% of the total. While credit conditions deteriorated broadly across sectors in 2020 due to the pandemic, bank ratings largely remained resilient, supported by strong balance sheets and government-support programs.

In addition to the investment-grade debt, about $226.3 billion in speculative-grade debt from financial services is set to mature through 2025. This mostly consists of debt from U.S.-based finance companies, subordinated debt from European banks, and emerging markets banks (led by Brazil).

Chart 15

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Europe Accounts For The Majority Of Financial Services Debt

By region, Europe accounts for 52.5% of financial services debt maturing through 2025 ($2.25 trillion), followed by the U.S. ($1.16 trillion) and the other developed region ($629.1 billion). Emerging markets have the lowest amount of financial services debt maturing through 2025 ($249 billion), but the region has a higher share of its debt rated speculative-grade, at 16%, than the other regions.

Asset quality will remain a key driver of banks' credit quality. For banks across the globe, we forecast credit losses of around $1.8 trillion for 2020 and 2021--15% lower than our previous forecast in July 2020. Our expectation on the timing of these losses has also shifted into 2021 and beyond, reflecting both the pandemic and the resulting extensions of fiscal and other support to borrowers across much of the world. We expect lower credit losses than we previously forecast for North America, China, and (to a lesser degree) the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. For the rest of the world, we expect credit losses will be higher overall.

Chart 16

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Data Approach

For this analysis, we investigated the potential refunding needs of financial and nonfinancial corporate debt rated by S&P Global Ratings.

For each region, we included the rated debt of all parent companies and their foreign subsidiaries. We counted the debt of all of these companies regardless of the currency or market in which the debt was issued. We converted any non-U.S.-dollar-denominated debt to U.S. dollars based on the end-of-day exchange rates on Jan. 1, 2021.

The issue types covered include loans, revolving credit facilities, bank notes, bonds, debentures, convertible bonds, covered bonds, intermediate notes, medium-term notes, index-linked notes, equipment pass-through certificates, and preferred stock. In the case of revolving credit facilities, the amount usually represents the original facility limit, not necessarily the amount that has been drawn. Debt amounts are tallied as the face value of outstanding rated debt instruments. We excluded individual issues that are not currently rated at the instrument level, as well as instruments from issuers currently rated 'D' (default) or 'SD' (selective default). We expect the credit market may have already accommodated some of the debt remaining in this year, given normal data-reporting lags.

We aggregated the data by issue-level credit rating. We also aggregated sector-specific data according to the subsector of the issuer. The financial sector is defined as all banks, brokers, insurance companies, asset managers, mortgage companies, and other financial institutions. We aggregated debt issued by financial arms of nonfinancial companies with the sector of their corporate parent. We excluded government-sponsored agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, project finance, and public finance issuers.

Our COVID-19 Assumptions

As vaccine rollouts in several countries continue, S&P Global Ratings believes there remains a high degree of uncertainty about the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic effects. Widespread immunization, which certain countries might achieve by midyear, will help pave the way for a return to more normal levels of social and economic activity. We use this assumption about vaccine timing in assessing the economic and credit implications associated with the pandemic (see our research here: www.spglobal.com/ratings). As the situation evolves, we will update our assumptions and estimates accordingly.

Related Research

This report does not constitute a rating action.

Ratings Performance Analytics:Evan M Gunter, New York + 1 (212) 438 6412;
evan.gunter@spglobal.com
Head of Ratings Performance Analytics:Nick W Kraemer, FRM, New York (1) 212-438-1698;
nick.kraemer@spglobal.com
Research Contributor:Abhik Debnath, CRISIL Global Analytical Center, an S&P Global Ratings affiliate, Mumbai

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