Syndicated lending in Europe may be blossoming at a perfect time for banks, because two reports suggest the domestic market is stagnating.

A report by Standard & Poor's suggests that defaults - 104 companies with $38.4 billion in debt in 1999, the highest since 1991 - show no signs of declining. Because the loan market is private, the number of corporate bond defaults is usually the best gauge of corporate loan risk.

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