Five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings and the start of the so-called great deleveraging of corporate America, companies have begun increasing debt again. Investors eager for yield and low interest rates are driving the trend. Federal Reserve data show that corporate-bond debt has reached $6 trillion, a 59% increase since 2007.
Members of the Federal Reserve's policy-setting panel say they want to see more employment gains before reducing stimulus, but they also "judged that a reduction in asset purchases would likely soon be warranted," according to minutes of their June meeting. "About half" of participants say tapering should be timed for this year, while others mention 2014 and a few suggest beginning immediately, the minutes show.
In its most optimistic view in more than two years, the Bank of Japan said the economy is starting to "recover," the central bank's first use of the word since January 2011. The bank said inflation will increase quickly enough to reach Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's target of 2% by March 2016.