Tag Archives: carry trade

Junk Bonds Record in ‘Goldilocks’ Market

29 Mar

From Bloomberg:

Junk bond sales reached a record this month as rising profits and record low Federal Reserve interest rates foster lending and investment to the lowest-rated borrowers.

Companies worldwide issued $38.3 billion of junk bonds this month, passing the previous high of $36 billion in November 2006, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Yields fell 0.95 percentage point this month to within 5.96 percentage points of government debt, the narrowest gap since January 2008, Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data show.

This is “an almost ‘Goldilocks’ environment for leveraged credit markets,” JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts led by Peter Acciavatti, the top-ranked high-yield strategist in Institutional Investor magazine’s annual survey for the past seven years, said in a March 26 report to the bank’s clients.

This is very bad news.

There has been growing concern around the world that the sales of junk bonds prior to the GFC will lead to a junk bond apocalypse in 2012:

“An avalanche is brewing in 2012 and beyond if companies don’t get out in front of this,” said Kevin Cassidy, a senior credit officer at Moody’s.

Private equity firms and many nonfinancial companies were able to borrow on easy terms until the credit crisis hit in 2007, but not until 2012 does the long-delayed reckoning begin for a series of leveraged buyouts and other deals that preceded the crisis.

Now, the ongoing Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) in the USA, and near zero interest rates in Japan and many other developed nations, has led to a new record in the sales of those same high risk ‘junk bonds’.

In other words, central banks and governments around the world are adding more fuel to the fire.

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