GLOBAL - A record 234 companies defaulted on US$178bn (£109bn) worth of corporate bonds worldwide last year, research by ratings agency Standard & Poor's shows.
A total of 220 companies defaulted on US$119bn worth of debt in 2001.
S&P said the global default rate increased gradually last year with 3.63% of all companies rated by the agency defaulting compared with the previous record of 3.49% set in 2001.
Investment-grade companies defaulted in record numbers during 2002, with 0.5% defaulting compared with the previous record of 0.24% for 2001.
Standard & Poor’s Risk Solutions associate director Brooks Brady said: “The rate of corporate defaults peaked in June of 2002 and we’re expecting a continued, though very slow, improvement in defaults in 2003.”
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