NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More than $5.5 billion of December defaults has increased the trailing 12-month (TTM) high yield rate to 3.3% from 3% at the end of November, according to Fitch Ratings. This marks the 13th consecutive month that defaulted volume exceeded $1.5 billion, closing in on the 14-month run seen in 2008-2009.
"Investors are taking note that the lower-for-longer oil price scenario doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon," said Eric Rosenthal, Senior Director of Leveraged Finance.
Corporate spreads for 'CCC' credits exceeded 1,600 bps on Friday for the first time since summer 2009. Energy and metals/mining compose $84 billion of the 'CCC' rating category. Spotty capital markets access for these companies has led to decreased issuance, and pricing suggests distress will continue. Of 'CCC' rated energy and metals/mining companies, 88% are bid below 80 cents.
So far this month the energy TTM default rate climbed to nearly 7%. Vantage Drilling's chapter 11 filing and Magnum Hunter Resources and Swift Energy's missed payments pushed the E&P TTM default rate close to 12%.
Distressed debt exchanges (DDEs) accounted for 44% of defaults on an issuer-count basis in the past year. Energy companies have relied on DDEs to improve their capital structure and buy time as liquidity and cash flows are affected by low oil prices. Several companies including SandRidge Energy, Halcon Resources, Warren Resources and Exco Resources have completed multiple DDEs.
The full report, "U.S. High Yield Default Insight: 2016 U.S. High Yield Default Rate Forecast at 4.5%; Energy at 11%" is available at www.fitchratings.com
Additional information is available at www.fitchratings.com
Fitch U.S. High Yield Default Insight (2016 U.S. High Yield Default Rate Forecast at 4.5%; Energy at 11%)