Default Warning as US Oil Industry’s Financial Woes Persist

Fitch says the U.S. oil and gas industry could account for one-third of junk bond defaults in 2021.

Myles McCormick, Financial Times
Default Warning as US Oil Industry’s Financial Woes Persist

Energy will account for $15 billion-$18 billion of U.S. high-yield bond defaults in 2021, Fitch predicted. That is more than double both healthcare and industrials. (Source: Hart Energy; Shutterstock.com)

Defaults by U.S. oil and gas producers are set to outstrip all other sectors again in 2021 as an industry battered by this year’s price crash faces yet more pain, according to a forecast from a rating agency.

Energy will account for $15 billion-$18 billion of U.S. high-yield bond defaults in 2021, Fitch predicted. That is more than double both healthcare and industrials, the next most affected sectors, the rating agency said.

The volume will be well below the $48 billion racked up by energy companies in the past year, which at 41% of the total was also by far the largest of any sector. But the persistence of elevated distress levels will dash hopes of a respite for the industry after one of its toughest years in recent history.

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