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Rising-Rate Environment Propels Leveraged Lending to Record Highs

July 03, 2018, 08:01 AM
Filed Under: Economic Commentary

The prospect of continued interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve helped push total lending volume up by nearly $200 billion in the second quarter,  to $821 billion, and propelled leveraged lending to record levels, according to new data from Thomson Reuters.

Thomson Reuters LPC reports that the record $1.45 trillion of loans issued in the first six months of 2018 to companies for acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, dividends and refinancings beat the prior record, set last year, of $1.31 trillion by nearly 11%.

“With the uptick in interest rates, with the Fed signaling two more rate hikes this year, and with people waiting for the bogeyman around the corner, there is real worry that the loan market may be starting to turn,” Ellen Snare, a partner at King & Spalding, told Reuters. “Borrowers are getting a sense that if that happens they’re going to have to pay more, so they want to get into the market sooner rather than later. I think the next six months will be as busy as the first six months of this year for new offers and refinancings.”

The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates seven times since late 2015, with another five rate increases expected by the end of the decade.

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