More companies around the world defaulted on their debt in the first three months of this year than in any quarter since late 2020, when businesses were still hamstrung by restrictions to stop the spread of Covid.
In a report Tuesday, credit rating agency Moody’s said 33 of the corporations it rates defaulted on their debts in the first quarter, the highest level since the last quarter of 2020 when 47 companies defaulted. Almost half, or 15 companies, defaulted last month — the highest monthly count since December 2020.
Defaulting firms included Silicon Valley Bank, which collapsed in March, its holding company SVB Financial Group and Signature Bank.
The failure of the two lenders last month sparked panic among investors and customers at US regional banks and knocked confidence in the global banking sector more broadly.
“While financial sector defaults were noteworthy, most defaults continued to reside in non-financial sectors last month,” Moody’s said, noting that US sports broadcasting company Diamond Sports Group posted the biggest default by dollar amount.