As the Federal Reserve (Fed) tightens monetary policy further, we expect to see default rates higher next year. Loan recovery rates averaged 70 percent between 1990 and 2017 as a result of their secured status and seniority in the capital structure. Senior secured bond recovery rates averaged 58 percent over the same period, while senior unsecured bond recovery rates averaged 43 percent. We are concerned about distressed exchanges as the risk of re-default is high. About 7 percent of high-yield corporate bond issuers have defaulted in the past.
The Western Pennsylvania of my youth was a magical place, with bucolic parklands and architectural gems like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. The decline of the steel industry over subsequent decades has left this beautiful countryside scarred with abandoned mills and rife with the toxins and refuse of a dying industry. This experience informs my perspective when I think about how to tackle the problem of funding the estimated $2.5 trillion gap in annual global infrastructure needs: How can future development avoid the mistakes of the past?
The business cycle is one of the most important drivers of investment performance. As the nearby chart shows, recessions lead to outsized moves across asset markets. It is therefore critical for investors to have a well-informed view on the business cycle so portfolio allocations can be adjusted accordingly.
After years of relying on monetary policy to stabilize the U.S. economy, policymakers have redoubled their commitment to stronger pro-growth fiscal policies. As post-election Washington sets its sights on growth-oriented reforms, policymakers should remember that economic growth in any nation is determined by the four basic factors of production—land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship.
Longer-term bond yields are near their highs for this cycle, while the environment for riskier assets like high-yield bonds, bank loans and stocks remains positive.