Credit Risk Monitor: peak inflation?

Credit Risk Monitor: peak inflation?

Not yet at peak inflation

The second quarter was characterised by whipsawing markets as it emerged that the peak in headline inflation had not yet been reached. This pushed central banks to keep their foot firmly on the brakes in tightening policy despite the risk of tipping economies into recession. Spreads widened significantly across credit markets and are more fully pricing in recession risk, but we believe there could be further to go as earnings are downgraded and economic growth falters.

Approaching the peak

  • While inflation expectations alongside commodity prices have eased, a peak has not yet been seen in headline inflation in the second quarter
  • Stickier inflationary pressures remain a risk for levels to remain elevated, but mathematically we should see a peak in inflation soon as energy base effects wash out

Cheap capital is behind us

  • Our ‘access to capital markets’ traffic light has switched from amber to red, as liquidity trends continue to deteriorate, lending standards are getting tighter and the cost of borrowing sharply rises
  • Real rates have shot up to be materially positive and this is a risk to funding for corporates, while risk aversion has risen

A cashflow shock is coming

  • Earnings weakness is evident in some sectors, but we are yet to see broad-based downgrades and margins remain resilient
  • This saving grace will soon dissipate as the energy crisis and supply shocks spread across the globe and buffet cashflows, as will other high input prices squeeze margins

Recession is more likely

  • As demand destruction continues to filter through industries and geographies, recession has become more likely than not in many major economies over the next 12 months as policy is tightened into a slowdown
  • Beyond policy, other risks remain such as Russian gas supply into Europe, which could affect the depth and length of a recession
  • In such an environment where fundamentals are set to weaken, dispersion between the winners and losers could increase and in our view security selection can be helpful to capture alpha
660x440_Jim Cielinski Video

Jim Cielinski, CFA
Global Head of Fixed Income

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