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Global Rate Hikes Hit the Wall of Debt Maturity

Global Rate Hikes Hit the Wall of Debt Maturitydebt

More than ninety central banks worldwide are increasing interest rates. Bloomberg predicts that by mid-2023, the global policy rate, calculated as the average of major central banks’ reference rates weighted by GDP, will reach 5.5%. Next year, the federal funds rate is projected to reach 5.15 percent.

Raising interest rates is a necessary but insufficient measure to combat inflation. To reduce inflation to 2%, central banks must significantly reduce their balance sheets, which has not yet occurred in local currency, and governments must reduce spending, which is highly unlikely.

The most challenging obstacle is also the accumulation of debt.

The so-called “expansionary policies” have not been an instrument for reducing debt, but rather for increasing it. In the second quarter of 2022, according to the Institute of International Finance (IIF), the global debt-to-GDP ratio will approach 350% of GDP. IIF anticipates that the global debt-to-GDP ratio will reach 352% by the end of 2022.

Global issuances of high-yield debt have slowed but remain elevated. According to the IMF, the total issuance of European and American high-yield bonds reached a record high of $1.6 trillion in 2021, as businesses and investors capitalized on still-low interest rates and high liquidity. According to the IMF, high-yield bond issuances in the United States and Europe will reach $700 billion in 2022, similar to 2008 levels. All of the risky debt accumulated over the past few years will need to be refinanced between 2023 and 2025, requiring the refinancing of over $10 trillion of the riskiest debt at much higher interest rates and with less liquidity.

Moody’s estimates that United States corporate debt maturities will total $785 billion in 2023 and $800 billion in 2024. This increases the maturities of the Federal government. The United States has $31 trillion in outstanding debt with a five-year average maturity, resulting in $5 trillion in refinancing needs during fiscal 2023 and a $2 trillion budget deficit…

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