Category Archives: debt bubble

27/12/18: Mr. Draghi’s Santa: Ending QE, Frankfurt Style


It's Christmas time, and - Merry / Happy Christmas to all reading the blog - Mr. Draghi is intent on delivering a handful of new presents for the kids. Ho-Ho-Ho... folks:


The ECB balancesheet has just hit a new high of 42% of Eurozone GDP, up from 39.7% at the end of 3Q 2018. Although the ECB has announced its termination of new purchases of assets under the QE, starting in January 2019, the bank has continued buying assets in December, and it will continue replacing maturing debt it holds into some years to come.

Despite the decline in the Euro value, expressed in dollar terms, ECB's balancesheet is the largest of the G3 Central Banks, ahead of both the Fed and the BOJ.

Ho-Ho-Ho... folks. The party is still going on, although the guests are too drunk to walk. Meanwhile, global liquidity has been stagnant on-trend since the start of 2015.


And now the white powder of debt is no longer sufficient to prop up the punters off the dance floor:


Ho-Ho-Ho... folks.

8/12/18: Back to the 1950s: Tracing Out 25 Years of the Credit Bubble


While the current cycle of declining interest rates has been running for at least 25 years, the most recent iteration of the period has been exceptionally benign. Since the end of the global financial crisis, Corporate and, to a greater extent Government, borrowing costs have run at the levels close to, or even below, those observed in the 1950s-1960s.


Since 2002-2003, FFR, on average, has been below the risk premium on lending to the Government & corporates. This has changed in 4Q 2017 when Treasuries risk premium fell below the FFR and stayed there since. In simple terms, it pays to use monetary policy to leverage the economy.
Not surprisingly, the role of debt in funding economic growth has increased.


And, as the last chart below shows, the relationship between policy rates (Federal Funds Rate) and Government and Corporate debt costs has been deteriorating since the start of the Millennium, especially for Corporate debt:


In simple terms, risk premium on Corporate debt has been negatively correlated with the Federal Funds Rate (so higher policy rates imply lower risk premium on Corporate bonds) and the positive relationship between Government debt risk premium and Fed's policy rate is now at its weakest level in history (so higher policy rates are having lower impact on risk premium for Government bonds). In part, these developments reflect accumulation of Government debt on the Fed's balancesheet. In part, the glut of liquidity in the banking and financial system (leading to mis-pricing of risks on a systemic basis). And, in part, the disconnection between Corporate debt markets and the policy rates induced by the debt-financed shares buybacks and M&As, plus yield-chasing investment strategies, all of which severely discount risk premia on Corporate debt.

8/12/18: Back to the 1950s: Tracing Out 25 Years of the Credit Bubble


While the current cycle of declining interest rates has been running for at least 25 years, the most recent iteration of the period has been exceptionally benign. Since the end of the global financial crisis, Corporate and, to a greater extent Government, borrowing costs have run at the levels close to, or even below, those observed in the 1950s-1960s.


Since 2002-2003, FFR, on average, has been below the risk premium on lending to the Government & corporates. This has changed in 4Q 2017 when Treasuries risk premium fell below the FFR and stayed there since. In simple terms, it pays to use monetary policy to leverage the economy.
Not surprisingly, the role of debt in funding economic growth has increased.


And, as the last chart below shows, the relationship between policy rates (Federal Funds Rate) and Government and Corporate debt costs has been deteriorating since the start of the Millennium, especially for Corporate debt:


In simple terms, risk premium on Corporate debt has been negatively correlated with the Federal Funds Rate (so higher policy rates imply lower risk premium on Corporate bonds) and the positive relationship between Government debt risk premium and Fed's policy rate is now at its weakest level in history (so higher policy rates are having lower impact on risk premium for Government bonds). In part, these developments reflect accumulation of Government debt on the Fed's balancesheet. In part, the glut of liquidity in the banking and financial system (leading to mis-pricing of risks on a systemic basis). And, in part, the disconnection between Corporate debt markets and the policy rates induced by the debt-financed shares buybacks and M&As, plus yield-chasing investment strategies, all of which severely discount risk premia on Corporate debt.

16/11/18: Student Debt Hits Another High in 3Q 2018


Bloomberg @business just now posted that the student loans debt in the U.S. has increased USD37 billion to USD1.44 trillion at the end of 3Q 2018:


And, Flows of student debt into serious delinquency - 90 or more days - rose to 9.1% from 8.6% in 2Q.

This is somewhat at odds with the Fred database which shows Student Loans debt at USD1.5636 trillion in 3Q 2018, up ca USD33.23 billion on 2Q 2018:


While the NY Fed report is already alarming in both delinquencies rates dynamics and overall debt dynamics, the FRED data that includes securitized debt volumes is even more worrying.

By its very nature, student loans debt impacts the segment of the population (younger workers) who are in the need to fund their housing needs just as their careers are only starting (with associated lower earnings). These younger households also need financial resources to achieve sufficient mobility to better match jobs offers and career prospects to their abilities and needs. Student loans fall heavily onto the shoulders of younger families with growing housing needs, healthcare demand and funding calls from childcare. In other words, student loans debt is potentially crippling those households that are demographically going through the period when enhanced mobility and financial resilience are necessary to secure better life-cycle employment and family outcomes.

16/11/18: Student Debt Hits Another High in 3Q 2018


Bloomberg @business just now posted that the student loans debt in the U.S. has increased USD37 billion to USD1.44 trillion at the end of 3Q 2018:


And, Flows of student debt into serious delinquency - 90 or more days - rose to 9.1% from 8.6% in 2Q.

This is somewhat at odds with the Fred database which shows Student Loans debt at USD1.5636 trillion in 3Q 2018, up ca USD33.23 billion on 2Q 2018:


While the NY Fed report is already alarming in both delinquencies rates dynamics and overall debt dynamics, the FRED data that includes securitized debt volumes is even more worrying.

By its very nature, student loans debt impacts the segment of the population (younger workers) who are in the need to fund their housing needs just as their careers are only starting (with associated lower earnings). These younger households also need financial resources to achieve sufficient mobility to better match jobs offers and career prospects to their abilities and needs. Student loans fall heavily onto the shoulders of younger families with growing housing needs, healthcare demand and funding calls from childcare. In other words, student loans debt is potentially crippling those households that are demographically going through the period when enhanced mobility and financial resilience are necessary to secure better life-cycle employment and family outcomes.