Global bond markets' weakest links

Rating agency explains why global default rates may edge up.

The global corporate speculative-grade bond default rate rose to 1.79% at the end of August, marginally higher than the eight-year low of 1.58% recorded in March 2005. The global speculative-grade default rate has remained below the long-term 1981-2004 average of 4.95% for 21 consecutive months, but is still higher than the record low of 1.28% posted in the second quarter of 1997.

The near-term default outlook has been mostly sanguine owing to expectations of relative economic...

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