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Corporate America’s debt load is nearing $10 trillion, a record 47% of the overall economy — and experts around the world are sounding the alarm

Published: December 2, 2019
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<i>Until debt tear us apart by <a href='https://unsplash.com/@stri_khedonia'>Alice Pasqual</a> on <a href='https://unsplash.com/photos/Olki5QpHxts'>Unsplash</a></i>
Until debt tear us apart by Alice Pasqual on Unsplash

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In a recession half as severe as the 2008 financial crisis corporate debt-at-risk - which is owned by firms that can’t cover interest expenses with their profits - could increased to $19 trillion, or almost 40% of total corporate debt in major economies, the IMF said.

BlackRock, the trillion-dollar asset manager said in a report in October that BBB-rated bonds, the lowest bracket of the investment-grade debt, now accounts for more than 50% of the market compared to 17% in 2001.

As demand for investment-grade debt has grown, the creditworthiness of issuers has fallen. According to BlackRock, leverage levels are creeping toward the highest readings since 1992. The firm measured leverage using a ratio of debt minus cash and cash equivalents to twelve-month EBITDA.

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