Thursday, December 29, 2016

29/12/16: Drowning in Debt

Recently, I posted about the return - with a vengeance - of one of the key drivers of the Global Financial Crisis and the Great Recession, the rapid rise of the debt bubble across the global economy. The original post is available here:

There is more evidence of the problem reaching beyond corporate finance side of the markets for debt. In fact, in the U.S. - the economy that led the de-risking and deleveraging efforts during the early stages of the recovery - household debt is now once again reaching danger levels.

Chart 1 below shows that, based on data from NY Federal Reserve through 3Q 2016, full year 2016 average household debt levels are likely to exceed 2005-2007 average by some 3 percent. In 3Q 2016, total average household debt was around USD98,312, a level comparable to USD98,906 in 2006.

And Chart 2 shows that overall, aggregate levels of household debt and per capita levels of household debt both are now in excess of 2005-2007 averages.

Finally, as Chart 3 below indicates, delinquencies rates are also rising, despite historically low interest rates and booming jobs markets. For Student Loans and Car Loans, 3Q 2016 delinquencies rates are 1 percentage points and 3.8 percentage points above the 2005-2007 average delinquency rates. For Mortgages, current delinquency rates are running pretty much at the 2005-2007 average. Only for Credit Cards do delinquency rates at the present trail behind the 2005-2007 average, by some 2 percentage points.

Now, consider the market expectations of 0.75-1 percentage increase in Fed rates in 2017 compared to 3Q 2016 (we are already 0.25 percentage points on the way with the most recent Fed decision). Based on the data from NY Fed, and assuming average 2015-2016 growth rates in credit forward, this will translate into extra household payments on debt servicing of around USD1,085-USD1,465 per annum depending on the passthrough rates from policy rate set by the Fed and the retail rates charged by the banks.

Given the state of the U.S. household finances, this will be some tough burden to shoulder.

So here you have it, folks:
1) Corporate debt bubble is at an all-time high
2) Government debt bubble is at an all-time high
3) Household debt bubble is at an all-time high.
Meanwhile, equity funding is slipping even for the usually credit-shy start ups.

And if you want another illustration, here is total global Government debt, based on IMF data:

We’ve learned no lessons from 2008.

Sources for data:

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