Displaying items by tag: credit
While there are a lot of concerns about the bond market right now, one of the risks that is being ignored is credit quality itself. Well, there might be a bomb set to go off in credit. In particular, there appear to be major risks in the Triple BBB category of bonds. This group is considered investment grade, but only just so. There are currently $2.5 tn in US debt with this rating, double the level of five years ago, according to Morgan Stanley. MS says that in a downturn, investors may abandon this type of debt, raising rates for the borrowers, and in turn exacerbating the economic contraction. All of which seems likely to hurt the stock market.
FINSUM: This part of the bond market is so huge, that an exodus from this area would greatly wound the economy.
The type of loans that fueled the Financial Crisis are making a comeback in a big way. Issuance of subprime mortgages is surging once again, with the total volume of loans issued in the first quarter doubling from a year ago. Such issuance fell to almost zero in the years after the Crisis, but specialist lenders have sent it surging yet again. The loans have been very popular in the debt markets as investors have been snapping up the loans. “[Investors] are definitely chasing yields. Whenever these deals come out, for the most part, they are oversubscribed”, says a New York hedge fund.
FINSUM: This is a bit worrying, but given how low the starting base for the market is, this is just not big enough to be a concern, yet….
The old fears are rising anew, and not without reason. With volatility now back in a big way, fears are once again stirring about the reliability of ETFs. In previous market flare ups there have been some major ETF losses. The ETF industry is worth $4 tn and has never been through a bear market at its current size. The biggest fears are in fixed income ETFs, where the “liquidity mismatch” is greatest between the tradable ETFs and the illiquid underlying bonds.
FINSUM: With rates and yields set to rise, there could be some volatility in fixed income, which means there could be some big issues in fixed income ETFs, especially in the most illiquid areas.
In what seems a status quo that has been in place for eons, the way credit is measured in the mortgage market appears poised to change. For many years, Fair Isaac Corp’s FICO score has been by far the dominant credit score used when determining mortgage issuance. Now Congress is trying to shake things up with a bank deregulation bill that would require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to consider credit scores beyond FICO. If the move happens, it is expected that more mortgages would be approved.
FINSUM: This would be a huge shakeup with big implications for the market. If more mortgages get approved, it seems like credit-worthiness would fall in aggregate, with a commensurate rise in rates.
Over the last several months there has been a lot of doom and gloom about commercial real estate. Everyone had been expecting a surge in defaults in 2016 and 2017 given that many mortgages issued in 2006 and 2017 were coming due. However, the delinquency rate on commercial mortgages has been falling for 8 consecutive months and is currently at 4.51%, compared to 5.31% this time last year and 10.34% in 2012. Many borrowers have been able to readily refinance their debts given high liquidity in the market.
FINSUM: The market for commercial mortgages looks to be in much better shape than many feared.