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Are high interest rates f-cking American businesses?

Ironically no!



Owe-kay

Anybody borrowing money recently will know that the interest rate hikes haven’t been a purely academic exercise, with mortgage rates and credit card charges soaring over the last 18 months. But, curiously, America Inc. has thus far remained largely unscathed by rising rates.

As first reported by the NYTimes, figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis reveal that the net interest paid by corporations on debt and miscellaneous assets has actually fallen to a 45-year low of $114 billion, as of the last quarter. Indeed, corporate leaders appear to have seized the opportunity to lock in cheap loans before rate rises took effect, while simultaneously parking any excess corporate cash in now high-yielding accounts or bonds.

Like the mortgage market, which has many homeowners tied into longer-term agreements that they haven’t yet had to renew at higher rates of interest, corporate America appears to have timed things well… so far. If interest rates were to stay at their elevated levels, you’d expect that — as a wave of borrowing gets refinanced over the next 2 years — net interest payments would soar again.

But, with inflation starting to cool, a consensus is emerging that the Fed may embark on a rate-cutting trajectory in the first half of 2024… possibly just as billions of dollars of corporate debt comes up for renewal.

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