In an article for the Financial Times, Mary McDougall reported on growing investor nervousness regarding junk bonds due to tightening credit and financial conditions. According to the Federal Reserve’s survey of Senior Loan officers about 46% of banks are planning to tighten lending standards given worries about defaults and recent stresses to the banking system.
Historically as lending standards tighten, it leads to a wider spread between junk bonds and Treasuries, indicating concerns over growing defaults. This can even potentially exacerbate a recession as companies have tougher times accessing capital markets which can affect corporate decisions,leading to belt-tightening and job losses.
What’s interesting is that many expected that the regional bank failures that began in March would have impacts on spreads and lending. Yet, there hasn’t been an impact yet. In fact, the entire bond complex has been quite strong since these stresses began as many interpreted it as increasing the odds of the Fed pausing rate hikes.
The Federal Reserve also seems to share these concerns as Chair Powell discussed the possibility of a credit crunch and that it poses one of the major risks to its economic outlook and financial stability.
Finsum: Despite the Fed’s rate hikes and regional banking concerns, lending and spreads have remained relatively resilient, but some are concerned that this won’t last.
Category: Wealth Management;
Keywords: #bonds; #Fed; #fixed income