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Lowest quality bonds now make up majority of U.S. investment-grade debt

Data from S&P Global show that of all investment-grade debt, 55% is rated BBB+, BBB or BBB+ BBB-. As of the end of January, there was about $6.2 trillion worth of investment-grade debt on the market, $3.4 trillion of which was rated BBB. The market value weighted average debt rating for the U.S. investment-grade debt market was A- at the end of January after drifting lower toward the end of 2018.

Companies across all investment-grade ratings have been increasing their debt relative to their earnings. Over the five years ended 2018, the net debt to EBITDA ratio of all investment-grade issuers rose to 2.16 from 1.39 while BBB-rated issuers rose to 3.08 from 1.97 over the same period.