Defaults Set to Rise?

November 01, 2013 | Greg Leonberger, FSA, EA, MAAA, FCA, Director of Research, Managing Partner

As shown in the graph above, 2013 has been a tremendous year for both investment grade and below-investment grade companies to issue debt. Given the near-record low levels of both interest rates and credit spreads, the amount of issuance has not been surprising. However, one of these very metrics which has driven this supply serves as a key risk metric to watch in the coming year: credit spreads. Over the last 18 months, the option adjusted spreads (“OAS”) for investment grade debt rated AA, A, and BBB has fallen; the decline in the OAS for high yield is even more remarkable.

Certainly, these declines have benefitted credit investors, but their current low levels coupled with low default rates hints that there is only one direction for defaults and subsequent credit spread levels to go: up. While we have not yet seen alarm bells ringing for either of these items, they bear watching over the coming year.

Greg Leonberger, FSA, EA, MAAA, FCA
Director of Research, Managing Partner

Get to Know Greg

The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

Related Content

02.22.2024

2 vs. 2000

A key metric that many investors use to measure the size of a company is market capitalization, which represents the…

This chart description is for illustrative purposes only and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Please see full disclosures at end of PDF. General description: Four-line chart plotting Treasury yield and spread since 1976. Chart subtitle: The current inversion of the Treasury curve has been aberrational in length and magnitude relative to history. Chart source: Bloomberg, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis as of February 14, 2024 Chart visual description: Left Y-axis labeled “Yield" and ranges from 0% to 18% in 2% increments. Right Y-axis labeled “Spread” and ranges from -300bps to 400bps in 100bps increments. X-axis labeled in YYYY format, from 1976 to 2023. 10-Year Treasury Yield plotted in dark teal line. 2-Year Treasury Yield plotted in light teal line. 2s10s Spread plotted in tan line. Inversion Demarcation (corresponding to right Y-axis) is plotted in light tan dashed line. Chart data description: Please contact us for the full dataset. End chart description. See disclosures at end of document.

02.15.2024

If the Treasury Curve Could Talk

While most of Marquette’s research is written in the third person, this edition of our Chart of the Week series…

02.12.2024

A Primer on Alternative Credit

Alternative credit, also referred to as private credit or private debt, has emerged as an area of significant interest for…

This chart description is for illustrative purposes only and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Please see full disclosures at end of PDF. General description: Line chart showing down rounds in venture capital-backed companies. Chart subtitle: Over the last two years, there has been a noticeable increase in down rounds for venture-backed companies. Chart source: Source: Cooley GO as of September 30, 2023 Chart visual description: Y-axis labeled “Down Rounds as a % of Total” and ranges from 0% to 30%. X-axis labeled in quarterly increments, from 1Q21 through 3Q23. Down Rounds (% of Total) plotted in dark orange; average plotted in dotted light orange. Chart data description: Average at 9.6%. 1Q21 at 5.7%. 2Q21 at 2.7%. 3Q21 at 2.3%. 4Q21 at 0.4% (trough for period shown). 1Q22 at 3.0%. 2Q22 at 4.1%. 3Q22 at 10.2%. 4Q22 at 14.1%. 1Q23 at 15.5%. 2Q23 at 21.2%. 3Q23 at 26.8%. End chart description. See disclosures at end of document.

02.06.2024

Another (Down) Round

Venture-backed companies tend to be nascent and typically deploy investment capital in an effort to drive revenue expansion, often to…

This chart description is for illustrative purposes only and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Please see full disclosures at end of PDF. General description: Combination column and line chart showing index weight and performance for China and India. Chart subtitle: There has been a significant divergence in performance between Chinese and Indian equities over the last few years. Chart source: Bloomberg, eVestment, MSCI as of December 31, 2023. Chart visual description: Left Y-axis labeled “Cumulative Return” and ranges from -25% to +150%. Right Y-axis labeled “MSCI Emerging Markets Weight” and ranges from 0% to 50%. X-axis labeled M/D/YY in six-month increments, from 12/31/15 to 12/31/23. EM Index weights are stacked columns, with China in light blue and India in light green, at the 6/30 increment for each year. China return is plotted in dark blue line and India return in dark green. Chart data description: Please contact us for the full dataset. End chart description. See disclosures at end of document.

02.01.2024

A Tale of Two Emerging Markets

While Chinese equities have largely languished in recent time amid robust performance of Indian stocks, it is important to note…

01.26.2024

2024 Market Preview Video

This video is a recording of a live webinar held January 25 by Marquette’s research team analyzing 2023 across the…

More articles

Subscribe to Research Email Alerts

Research Email Alert Subscription

Research alerts keep you updated on our latest research publications. Simply enter your contact information, choose the research alerts you would like to receive and click Subscribe. Alerts will be sent as research is published.

We respect your privacy. We will never share or sell your information.

Thank You

We appreciate your interest in Marquette Associates.

If you have questions or need further information, please contact us directly and we will respond to your inquiry within 24 hours.

Contact Us >