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Oil Plunge Sets Stage for Energy Defaults: Credit Markets

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Bond investors, already stung by the biggest losses from U.S. energy company debt in six years, are facing more pain as the plunge in oil leads analysts to predict defaults may more than double.

While bond prices suggest traders see defaults rising to 5 percent to 6 percent, UBS AG said it may actually end up being as high 10 percent if prices of West Texas Intermediate crude approach $50 a barrel and stay there. Debt research firm CreditSights Inc. predicts a jump to 8 percent from 4 percent.