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Credit Conditions North America Q4 2021: Risks Rise As Recovery Hits A Snag

The U.S. economic recovery has hit a snag as supply disruptions slow activity and the fourth wave of COVID acts as an additional drag. We now expect full-year GDP growth of 5.7%. While ratings actions reflect improving outlooks for credit, and lending conditions remain favorable, there’s a rising risk that investors may soon push up borrowing costs, especially if inflation persists or unexpected adverse events trigger market turbulence. With corporate debt leverage near record levels, the recovery in demand remains uneven across industries. At the same time, borrowers in many sectors are dealing with rising input prices. All of this comes as the COVID health crisis lingers. We are also watching structural risks pertaining to the energy transition and ESG, cyber security, U.S.-China strategic confrontation, and commercial real estate.

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