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A series of leveraged loan defaults by U.S. companies has pushed the 12-month default rate over the 3% mark, Fitch Ratings reports.

The rating agency said that with six defaults in the past 30 days, the trailing default rate rose to 3.0% in October from 2.9% in September.

Year to date, the value of defaults has almost doubled to US$49.7 billion from US$25.1 billion for the same period last year.

The number of defaults was also up to 61 issuers from 23 issuers in 2022.

Several issuers were pushed to file for creditor protection or to undertake distressed debt exchanges in the past month, driven by a combination of “[o]perational issues and free cash flow challenges, in tandem with elevated leverage, high interest expense and weak liquidity,” Fitch noted.

At the same time, despite the tighter financial conditions, some low-rated issuers have still been able to find refinancing in the private credit market, it reported.