Despite market turmoil during the summer–mainly because of announcements from the Federal Reserve that it was considering beginning to taper its bond purchases–corporate borrowers ultimately had a relatively stable 2013. In the full year, 81 global corporate issuers defaulted, relatively unchanged from 83 in 2012 (see table 1). These 81 defaulted issuers accounted for a total of $97.3 billion in debt, up from $86.7 billion in 2012.
Overall, credit quality and stability increased in 2013 (see table 6). The ratio of downgrades to upgrades decreased relative to 2012, though the average number of notches recorded among downgrades rose marginally to 1.385 from 1.375. The average number of notches for upgrades fell to 1.14 from 1.16 (see chart 13).
Read full report here