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M’sia 2009 corp debt default to rise – agency

Posted on: March 27, 2009

Reuters – Friday, March 27

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 – Malaysia’s corporate debt rated by local agency Malaysian Rating Corp may default at a higher rate of 4.1 percent this year due to continued economic deterioration, a top MARC official said on Thursday.

Last year, MARC-rated corporate debt’s defaults stood at just under 2 percent, according to the agency.

“In 2009, on assumption that the economic condition will worsen, we expect default definitely will happen,” MARC’s Chief Executive Officer Mohd Razlan Mohamed told reporters.

Activity in Malaysia’s corporate debt market has been slow this year, traders say, with investors increasingly risk-averse and leaning towards government and quasi-government debt securities in a flight to quality.

MARC kept its forecast on new corporate bond issues in 2009 at 25-30 billion ringgit, unchanged from last month, even though the government announced earlier in March it would set up a financial guarantee institution to help companies raise debt.

“We may see some upside, but because the formation of the financial guarantee institution is only going to happen at the end of the first half of the year, we may not benefit from the full year advantage,” said Razlan.

Last year, Malaysia’s total corporate bond issues totalled 49 billion ringgit, he said.


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