Fixed-Income Issuance Says a Lot About Economy

Mar 22, 2023 | Macro Insights, No Bull Economics

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Total U.S. fixed income (FI) issuance declined -34% y/y to $8.8 trillion during 2022 as interest rates ramped up. Treasuries and mortgages represented 2/3 of total issuance with corporate debt representing just 15%. We need to find a way to rebalance our economy more towards commerce.

Commentary

If the U.S. economy runs on business, you certainly cannot determine that by analyzing the ginormous fixed-income market. 2022 corporate bond issuance of just $1.354 trillion is a pittance of the $8.8 trillion fixed income issuance total, especially when considering that half of that was driven by financial institutions.

Notably, the debt needs from U.S. industrial companies were only $68 billion last year, reflecting the shallowness of America’s manufacturing base. It is probably fair to say that the government is crowding out the debt markets, and one must wonder what the U.S. would look like if corporate bond issuance represented 2/3 of the total and the government just 15%.  

Debt Issuance Graphs

Source: Research Quarterly: Fixed Income – Issuance and Trading – SIFMA – Research Quarterly: Fixed Income – Issuance and Trading – SIFMA

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