Corporate Bond Market Didn’t Get the Recession Memo

The latest signs of life from corporate bond issuers sure don’t signal a market that’s in a recession.

Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. is reaching out to investors Wednesday ahead of a potential senior unsecured debt offering, according to Bloomberg News. Earlier this week, Apple Inc. introduced a $5.5 billion offering in four parts, adding to a flurry of other recent sales from prominent banks.

The burst of issuance activity is a reminder that the bond market remains open for business, and that is an important development if the US is going to avoid a protracted downturn. Ever since the Federal Reserve began rapidly raising interest rates to fight inflation, markets have increasingly convinced themselves that the US is heading for a recession. That makes some sense, of course, because the Fed has rarely managed to restore price stability without toppling the economy in the process. But any downturn probably won’t get that bad as long as financing markets remain available to companies. Although the market is slogging through a particularly slow year for issuance, it hasn’t been because of a “buyers’ strike” that closed the spigot for new debt entirely.