Friday, 02 February 2024 07:26

PIMCO Bearish on Private Credit, Sees an Opportunity

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Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO) has been quite pessimistic on private credit and sees major downside if rates don’t fall as expected. This is contrary to many in the industry embracing private credit like Blackstone and Apollo Global. 


In contrast, PIMCO is looking to take advantage of the crisis that it’s forecasting. It also has larger implications for the economy and markets given that private credit has taken the bulk of risky lending which used to come from investment banks. 


PIMCO’s thesis rests on the US economy slowing in 2024 and a hard landing in Europe and the UK. If the economy remains resilient, then rates are unlikely to fall as much as expected. This would put stress on private markets where there is less transparency and price discovery. The firm believes that many borrowers are quite risky and quite exposed to a decline in revenues. They believe that about a quarter of private credit portfolios could face difficulties if rates don’t fall or are less than expected. 


PIMCO spies an opportunity if private lenders face pressure from its creditors based on portfolio values dropping. This would allow PIMCO to squeeze out other lenders by buying into debt at a discount. It would also continue a trend of the firm moving away from its roots of fixed income investing and increasingly into alternative assets. This segment has grown from $32 billion in 2016 to $170 billion in the first half of 2023. 

Finsum: PIMCO is bearish on private credit due to concerns about balance sheet risk with risky borrowers, bearishness on the economy in 2024, and the market pre-emptively pricing in a dovish Fed.


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