April 16, 2018

Debt kills.

It helped bring down the Roman Empire. It’s taken down moguls and companies alike.

And as interest rates rise, we could find ourselves in a bond bubble created by debt.

How so?

Look at the firms declaring bankruptcy or liquidating – Toys “R” UsiHeartMedia, and Claire’s, to name a few. Each an industry giant, debt overcame them all, and the bond market is feeling it.

iHeartMedia can’t afford its $1.8 billion debt payments on its $20 billion in debt. Claire’s hopes to shed $1.9 billion in debt. And there are probably more coming – it’s only a matter of time before the default rate rises intensely.

Treasury notes of 5- and 10-year maturities have doubled since July 2016, meaning companies are being charged higher rates on new loans. So, outstanding debt will become more expensive when it’s refinanced in a few years.

How does this all end?

The writing on the wall points to debt continuing to mount, which could trigger a credit crunch. Plus, huge amounts of debt could be eliminated altogether.

From the looks of it, the storm is en route. Take cover.

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