Oct 15, 2020 - Economy

Corporate credit ratings downgrades fell by 74% in Q3

After hitting a record high in the second quarter, the number of U.S. corporate ratings downgrades fell to its lowest level since Q4 2018, according to S&P Global Ratings.

By the numbers: S&P lowered 107 U.S. corporate issuer credit ratings in the third quarter — 74% fewer downgrades than in Q2, as upgrades nearly doubled to 43.

  • "Downgrades abruptly slowed and upgrades increased as U.S. GDP rebounded in the third quarter," said Nick Kraemer, head of S&P Global Ratings Performance Analytics, in a statement.

One level deeper: Downgrade risk as measured by negative bias (the percentage of issuer credit ratings with negative outlooks or on CreditWatch with negative implications) for U.S. speculative-grade companies fell by 5 percentage points to 47%.

  • Meanwhile, the negative bias for investment-grade companies held nearly unchanged at 26%.
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