The majority of surveyed credit managers, however, see overall credit default rates remaining unchanged over the next 12 months. Fifty-nine percent of managers see default rates remaining unchanged, compared to 26% the previous quarter.
Globally, a quarter of surveyed credit managers, or 25%, forecast rising loan defaults over the next 12 months, down from 34% of managers that responded with that answer in the second quarter (and 40% in the first quarter).
Som-lok Leung, IACPM's executive director, said in a phone interview it is a more nuanced shift in manager opinions than anything dramatic.
"I think things are not wildly negative," Mr. Leung said. "It's hard to basically be more positive. They've been more positive than they've been for a long time in the past two quarters."
"Defaults were extremely low in large part due to government support and central bank actions," he said, "and it's hard for them to look much better and now we're seeking a couple of reasons why they may look worse. Inflation – and energy prices in particular – all things may very well lead to interest rate increases by the Fed and other central banks, and that takes away the tides that are floating all boats."
The survey's Aggregate Credit Default Outlook index for the next 12 months fell to -16.2 in the third-quarter survey, falling from 2.6 in the previous quarter. A negative number indicates credit conditions are expected to worsen, while positive numbers mean conditions are expected to improve.
By region, Asia's index fell to -17.4 from 9.1 the previous quarter, North America's number fell to -14.7 from 7.7, Europe fell to -6.2 from 12.1 and Australia fell to -5.6 from 2.9.
The survey is conducted among IACPM members, who are credit portfolio managers at more than 100 financial institutions in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.