Commentary

State of the Loan Market (Third of a Series)

Besides the Annual LSTA Conference, the other recent industry gathering of note was the Creditflux CLO Conference in NY. The focus here was trends in structured finance, from both issuer and investor perspectives. Collateral loan obligations, as we’ve covered in a special series [link], represent the majority of loan buyers in the broadly syndicated market.

State of the Loan Market (Second of a Series)

The backdrop for US credit got a boost from several corners last week. First, the nomination of Jerome Powell to be the next Fed chief ensured monetary policy would be, if not unchanged, at least in experienced hands. Also, the October labor report – 261,000 new jobs added– came in pretty much where economists expected.

State of the Loan Market (First of a Series)

The French are running out of butter. C’est impossible! Bad weather, falling milk production, and revived global demand for the dairy product have left bare shelves in France, particularly Brittany. This in a nation where consumers eat three times as much butter annually (18 lbs. per capita) as in the US. L’affaire du beurre (a.k.a.

Spot-lite on Cov-lite (Final of a Series)

Blame it on the Vikings. When those ancient Scandinavians settled Iceland around 870 AD, they cut down most of the trees for firewood and to clear land for planting and livestock. A thousand years later that country of volcanos and glaciers is struggling to reforest. Despite planting three million trees across a land mass the

Spot-lite on Cov-lite (Third of a Series)

The notion that covenant-lite loans are bestowed on only the best and brightest borrowers has been pretty banged up. Cov-lite and other leveraged lending terms are now hostages in the front-line battle middle market arrangers are waging for business. Competition is no longer just among the midcap lender themselves. For companies in and around the

Spot-lite on Cov-lite (Second of a Series)

News reached us last week that the great mathematician, Monty Hall, passed away at the age of 96. Better known as the host of the 1960’s TV hit, “Let’s Make a Deal,” Mr. Hall lent his name to game theory for the so-called 3-Door Monty Hall Problem. Behind three doors there’s a brand new car,

Spot-lite on Cov-lite (First of a Series)

Our story last week of the hundred-year old fruitcake captured readers’ attention. Tributes to this underappreciated treat poured into the Lead Left mailbox. “It’s believed there’s only one fruitcake in existence,” one friend wrote. “It gets passed around during the holidays from family to family. Now we all know where it came from.” There’s also

Feeding the Beast

The world’s oldest fruitcake was found in Antartica in a building left from the expedition of Robert Falcon Scott. The British explorer died during his 1912 attempt to reach the South Pole. But not apparently from eating the fruitcake. The perennial delicacy was found covered in ice, and left “wrapped in paper..and in its original

Loans à la Mode

Following our story last week on skyrocketing costs of natural vanilla flavoring, fans of confectionary innovation alerted us to another development on the sweets front. A Swiss company is launching “ruby chocolate” to appeal to millennial appetites as well as to open foreign markets less known for chocoholics. While not available to consumers until 2018,

Flavor of the Month

Turns out there’s nothing plain about vanilla. Back in March a huge storm – cyclone Enawo – struck Madagascar, a major grower responsible for supplying 80% of the world’s vanilla pods. That crop devastation caused pod prices to hit a record high this year of $600 per kilogram. “It has been ridiculous,” said the chief