The amount of U.S. corporate debt outstanding grew 10% annually between 2007 and 2014, according to statistics released Thursday by Fitch Ratings. At the end of 2014, $3.7 trillion of U.S. corporate bonds were outstanding, up from $1.9 trillion in 2007.
The momentum has continued into 2015 as companies scramble to take advantage of low interest rates ahead of an anticipated move higher by the Federal Reserve. Issuance through the first two months is up 30% compared to 2014.
At the end of 2014, the par-weighted average coupon of outstanding issues stood at 5.27%, down 31 basis points from a year earlier.
The U.S. corporate bond universe was split 72% investment grade (AAA through BBB) and 28% speculative (BB or lower).