JPMorgan Sees Rise in Corporate Defaults in Latin America

JPMorgan increased its corporate default rate forecast for all emerging markets to 6% from 5.5% on Monday, citing in particular growing risk among Latin American companies as access to credit markets gets tougher, Reuters reported. The bank's forecasted default rate for Latin American corporates, meanwhile, came in even higher at 6.6%, up from 5%, which if realized will be the highest default rate for the region since 2016. Analysts at the bank flagged the challenges facing Latin American issuers, including a number of potential default candidates in Brazil. "While we have already seen four defaults and distressed exchanges in Brazil, more are expected this year," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note. JPMorgan's forecast default rate provides an estimate for the percentage of high-yield corporate borrowing that will likely miss scheduled payments this year. The upwardly revised default risk in the region follows a series of high-profile credit failures across the region in the past few months, including Brazilian retailer Americanas — which filed for bankruptcy — and the non-bank lender Mexarrend, which missed payments due on local debt and dollar bonds in January. Incidents like these have made accessing credit more difficult in the region, JPMorgan noted. Read more.