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Corporate defaults worldwide surged in March amid regional bank strain

Corporate defaults around the world reached their most elevated level since December 2020 last month, jerked higher by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

Fifteen Moody’s-rated corporate borrowers defaulted on their debt obligations in March, up from 12 in February and six in January, the agency said. That uptick took global defaults for the first quarter of 2023 to 33, the largest figure since the final three months of 2020.

The increase in defaults came after SVB and Signature failed last month. “The stress experienced by some mid-sized US regional banks serves as a reminder that a turn in the rate cycle can trigger otherwise latent risks,” the ratings agency said.

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