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Corporate borrowers in the U.S. have boosted the average maturity of their bonds to the most since at least the 1990s as borrowing costs slump, reducing the risk that they will be exposed to a sudden rise in interest rates.

The average 16.4-year maturity last quarter on new corporate bonds tracked by the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association is up from the average of 10.7 years and the highest in data going back to 1996. American International Group Inc., the insurer that just more than six years ago was the recipient of a $182.3 billion government bailout, raised 40-year debt on Jan. 12 in its longest-dated bond since 2007.

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