Headlines notwithstanding, it doesn’t seem like the U.S. leveraged loan market is that hot. Admittedly, S&P/LCD says lending picked up 15% between second and third quarter. But in the year-to-date, leveraged lending is down across the board, according to S&P/LCD and LPC.
Welcome to Credit Journal – a curated compilation of Fitch Ratings’ in-depth research and commentary. In this issue, we’re exploring all angles of the leveraged finance market. We at Fitch Ratings, as well as our partners at Covenant Review and LevFin Insights, are committed to bringing transparency to the complex and evolving leveraged finance and […]
The headline above is slightly – but only slightly – tongue in cheek. With all the noise around leveraged loans (and general silence around high yield bonds), one might think that i) loans suddenly have migrated down the capital structure and ii) loan documentation is far worse than bond documentation. In fact, neither is true.
In the past year, one might have noticed a certain alarmist tone in the press’s coverage of leveraged lending. Commentators have pointed to potential overheating, overleveraging (or, at least, overgrowth) of the loan market. We’ll acknowledge that leverage is higher and documents are looser. But we’d also gently recommend that commentators consider i) a data-based analysis of 2019 versus 2018 and ii) an apples-to-apples comparison to bonds. The real story is – as it often is – a bit more nuanced.
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