Corporate debt defaults soared 80% in 2023, could be high in 2024


Javier Ghersi | Moment | Getty Images

Corporate debt defaults soared last year and could be a problem again in 2024 as cash-strapped companies deal with the burden of high interest rates, S&P Global Ratings reported Tuesday.

The number of companies that failed to make required payments on their debt totaled 153 for 2023, up from 85 the year before, an increase of 80%. It was the highest default rate outside of the Covid-related spike in 2020 in seven years.

Much of the total came from low-rated companies that had negative cash flows, high debt burdens and weak liquidity, S&P said. From a sector standpoint, consumer-facing companies — media and entertainment in particular — led the…


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