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September U.S. And Canada Summary Report: Leveraged Finance

Upgrades Drive Rating Actions: The positive rating action trend continued through August as upgrades outpaced downgrades in the speculative-grade category. Over 75% of ‘CCC’ rating actions so far in 2021 have been upgrades--the highest among spec-grade rating categories. Year-To-Date (YTD) Speculative Grade New Issuance Outpaces 2020: There were 179 new U.S. and Canadian spec-grade corporate issuers as of Aug. 31, 2021. The high-tech sector continues to lead the list of new issuers. Slowdown In Defaults: The North American default total so far for 2021 is 32. The U.S. has hit its lowest year-to-date defaults since 2014.1 We expect the U.S. spec-grade default rate to fall to 2.5% by June 2022.2

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