The Great Debt Unwind Beneath the Surface: US Commercial Bankruptcies Soar

They’d believed in six years of Wall Street hogwash.

By Wolf Richter of WOLF STREET

Not that you would have guessed from the stock market, hovering at all-time highs, or from soaring junk bonds, even the riskiest paper: CCC-and-below rated junk bonds skyrocketed since their February 12 low as their average yield plunged from 21.6% to 13.5%. Even the S&P US Distressed High Yield Corporate Bond index has soared 57% since February 12.

Those are miracles to behold.

At the slightest squiggles of the market, the Fed goes into bouts of by now embarrassing flip-flopping on rate increases that demonstrate to the world that they have absolutely nothing else in mind than keeping the stock market inflated and keeping the biggest credit bubble in US history from unceremoniously imploding.

And the ECB is out there with its scorched-earth monetary policies, with negative interest rates and bond purchases, including asset backed securities and corporate bonds, that it has been caught buying directly from issuers. It’s driving even corporate bond yields into the negative. Just now, French drugmaker Sanofi and German household products maker Henkel issued bonds with negative yields, thus getting paid by these hapless investors to borrow.

The idea for bondholders being that you have practically no income throughout and get “most” of your money back at maturity. An idea that is sending NIRP refugees into US assets, driving up their values and pushing down their yields. It all works wonderfully.

But beneath this magic is the real US economy, and there, despite this flood of money and the low interest rates and the soaring stocks, and all the shenanigans to keep the credit bubble from imploding, business bankruptcies are soaring

Continue reading the article at WOLF STREET

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