Delinquencies of U.S. CMBS surpassed record levels in July and could climb further by year-end, according to Fitch Ratings.

The problem loans – many of them for hotel properties and the retail space – promise to corrode bank balance sheets already smarting from problems related to consumer debt.

On Monday, Fitch said that July CMBS loan delinquencies gained nearly a half-point to end the month at 3.04%. That is a record high, according to the rating agency, which warned that delinquencies could climb to over 5% by year-end.

“If current trends continue, delinquencies are likely to pass 5% by the end of 2009, though the likelihood of large vintage proforma loans depleting their debt service reserves by year-end could drive the percentage of delinquent loans past 6% by first quarter 2010,” Fitch said in a press release.

Last month, new hotel delinquencies rose 41% and retail property loan delinquencies rose 21%. The size of problem hotel loans ranged from $850,000 to $183 million.

Retail property loan problems were exacerbated by the bankruptcy of Chicago-based real estate investment trust General Growth Partners.

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