Standard & Poor's says New Zealand's traditionally low rate of corporate debt defaults is unlikely to continue this year.
The latest report from the credit rating agency shows one confidential rated entity in New Zealand and Australia defaulted on financial payments during 2009 - a default rate of 0.5% for the 434 companies it rated.
Globally, 264 defaults were recorded during the year, or 4% of the total pool.
For the last four years, Australia and New Zealand have recorded only one default between them - but the agency warns that trend will not continue.
It says the lag effect from New Zealand's downturn has already seen two small financial institutions default in the first quarter of 2010.