JPMorgan sees rise in corporate defaults in Latin America

A J.P. Morgan logo is seen in Paris

(Reuters) - JPMorgan increased its corporate default rate forecast for all emerging markets to 6% from 5.5% on Monday, citing in particular growing risk among Latin American companies as access to credit markets gets tougher.

The bank's forecasted default rate for Latin American corporates, meanwhile, came in even higher at 6.6%, up from 5%, which if realized will be the highest default rate for the region since 2016.

Analysts at the bank flagged the challenges facing Latin American issuers, including a number of potential default candidates in Brazil.

"While we have already seen four defaults and distressed exchanges in Brazil, more are expected this year," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note.

JPMorgan's forecast default rate provides an estimate for the percentage of high-yield corporate borrowing that will likely miss scheduled payments this year.

The upwardly revised default risk in the region follows a series of high-profile credit failures across the region in the past few months, including Brazilian retailer Americanas - which filed for bankruptcy - and the non-bank lender Mexarrend, which missed payments due on local debt and dollar bonds in January.

Incidents like these have made accessing credit more difficult in the region, JPMorgan noted.

The bank's forecasts for Asian emerging markets were unchanged at a 4.1% default rate.

(Reporting by Isabel Woodford; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Marguerita Choy)