Behind the impeachment drama, our divided government has been getting things done: new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, major spending bills (with major deficit spending), an outline of a trade deal with China (some are calling it more of a “trade truce” with the heavy lifting set for next year). The Fed is doing their part by injecting liquidity into the short term markets almost daily, but don’t call it QE. All of these factors along with some positive economic news from Europe and hopes that next year’s Brexit will be orderly have buoyed the 2020 global growth outlook. Treasuries are selling on the sentiment with the 10 year hitting 1.92% today, the highest since July. Maybe those prognosticators that picked a 2.00% 10 year T at year end are pretty close. The rising treasury and relatively stable LIBOR index could return us to a more “normal” index relationship: a steeper yield curve and a 10 year T getting separation from 30 day LIBOR (as the Fed has indicated no rate increases in 2020). So floating loan rates should again be “cheaper” than perm rates. The good economic fundamentals should keep loan spreads tight. In a few weeks, the securitized lenders (CMBS, CLO, etc) will be ready to issue new paper to bond buyers flush with new allocations for the new year. Portfolio lenders will have to compete as the securitized markets often set the bar on spreads.
Signing off for 2019. It’s been a pleasure writing this column for you and I look forward to an exiting new decade.
By David R. Pascale, Jr. , Senior Vice President at George Smith Partners