Bottom line, our conversations with investors suggest yields in the 20 – 25% context could be attractive enough to draw in marginal capital – although several investors noted that is reasonable for triple C risk excluding commodities. In short, we're not there yet.
The on-the-run WTI crude futures price just plunged to $27.27 (for the March contract) which is a new cycle low for black gold (below March's previous "This is the low" lows in January.) It should not be entirely surprising since US Energy credit risk has spiked once again to new record highs.
When it rains it pours...
Here is the one chart showing why the time to panic about Canadian banks may have finally arrived...
Overnight, one of the two rating agencies, Standard and Poors, came one step closer to that fateful moment of junking Glencore when it downgraded Glencore, however it decided to throw the company one last lifeline by keeping it at the very lowest investment grade rating, and instead of cutting it from BBB to single B or CCC where its CDS and bond yield implies the company should be trading, it kept it a BBB-.
The surge in credit risk across the global financial system is starting to get to the point where even Bill Miller will be forced to pay attention. With every central banker "all-in" with "whatever it takes" or "no limits" monetary policy, the fact that US, European, Chinese, Japanese, and Middle-East banks are all seeing credit risk spike should be a major concern to all...
"Why after several decades of 0% rates has the Japanese economy failed to respond? Why has the U.S. only averaged 2% real growth since the end of the Great Recession? “How’s it workin’ for ya?” – would be a curt, logical summary of the impotency of low interest rates to generate acceptable economic growth worldwide. "
While there may not be another 'energy' sector this cycle, our proverbial list of candidates includes lower quality high yield (ex-commodities) and commercial real estate (CRE). More broadly, the OCC's own examiners would also likely add asset-backed and auto loans to the list.
There will be two key themes for investors seeking to shake off the abysmal "as goes January" blues: buybacks, which are set to return in February, and central banks, which are poised to do absolutely nothing to calm investor nerves in the next 4 weeks.
While energy E&P companies were dropping like flies in 2015, credit rating agencies and banks have remained awfully quiet....
The real enemy of investors is not these fairly routine 10 or 20% downturns. The real enemy is the bear market that is associated with a recession or crisis, the one that knocks your equity block down by 40 or 50%. And actually it isn’t even the depth that is the real enemy. For most investors the enemy is time.
Moody's took the global energy sector to the woodshed, placing 175 global oil, gas and mining companies and groups on review for a downgrade due to a prolonged rout in global commodities prices that it says could remain depressed indefinitely. Here are the 69 US, 19 Canadian and 13 European companies (the full list of all global companies can be found here) that just Moody's black list, a grand total of 101 companies which now face a downgrade threat on just about $540 billion in total debt.
When the FOMC is deliberately manipulating asset prices and credit spreads... collateral damage is inevitable.