What’s Ahead for 2015? (Third of a Series)

We had planned on concluding our 2015 predictions with a forecast of structure and pricing in leveraged loans. But market developments compel us to address first what could a factor in changing both those elements dramatically next year.

Like all things unexpected, the precipitous drop in oil prices could have been foreseen if you knew where to look. But as often happens few knew where to look.

Back in July, when we ran our series “Are We Back to 2007 [link],” we said smart money was anticipating a recession 18-24 months hence. And when it came, they said, it would be triggered by an unanticipated exogenous event.

Welcome to the exogenous event! It was also in July that the US surpassed Saudi Arabia as the top oil producer. In the category of “Be careful what you wish for,” the impact of falling prices is now hitting home with a vengeance.

Sure, momentary relief at the gas pump has heartened consumers and sparked spending on cars and other high-ticket items (though not houses). And lower energy costs help some corporate wallets (e.g. airlines). But we think this euphoria will be