Interest & Corporate Loan Monitor

FCF regularly conducts comprehensive research regarding the German corporate loan and interest market, based on publically available information. The results are updated and published quarterly in the


The FCF Interest and Corporate Loan Monitor provides valuable information regarding the prevailing macro-economic environment as well as the corporates loan and bank markets and covers the following topics:

  • macro-economic environment
  • currently prevailing interest rate environment
  • current developments of credit margins
  • behavior of the bank within the corporate loan market

The most important insights of the acurrent issue:

The interest rate-turnaround after four decades of declining interest rates
      The average interest rates for corporate loans in Germany ("loan interest rates") across all sec-tors and rating classes have reached a peak of well over 10% in the early 1980s, which was followed by almost 40 years of declining interest rates (down to approx. 1%) until 2016
    • From 2016 to 2022, i.e. for a period of more than 6 years, interest rates have been fluctuating around the historic low of approx. 1.0% to 1.5% and have hence bottomed-out in the long-term view
    • Since the beginning of 2022, an initially moderate but in the second quarter 2022 increasingly rapid increase in loan interest rates up to 3.4% in Nov. 2022 could be observed, driven by high inflation rates in Germany, the eurozone and the US, as well as significantly higher credit margins of the lending banks (compensating the banks for possible higher default risks)
    • Interest rates continued to rise steadily in 2023, had already reached approx. 4.3% by October 2023, then fell again to approx. 3.4% in December and have risen significantly again since the beginning of the year to 4.0% by mid-February 2024 (increase of over 250bps in 24 months)
    • The surge in interest rates continued to be strong in 2023, with an increase of around 35% (110bps) from January to October. As (core) inflation in the eurozone has stabilised some-what in the meantime, but is still too high, the ECB is unlikely to raise interest rates again in the short term, but is also unlikely to cut them. Companies are currently paying the highest interest rates on new loan agreements in over a decade
Current financing environment currently still positive
    • Historically – viewed over a 40-year period – interest rates are currently still at a comparably low level, albeit with a clear upward trend
    • Banks anticipate improved lending terms & conditions for Q1/2024
      • however, the development of lending terms & conditions during the last few quarters regularly fell short of the banks' positive expectations
      • empirical observations and feedback by companies in the market show both increasing refer-ence interest rates as well as credit margins; further terms & conditions (e.g. maturity, cove-nants, securities, etc.) appear to be stable to slightly stricter in our view
    • Over the past twelve months, the cooperative banks in particular have increased their lending, while other banking groups have been more cautious. The credit banks' lending volume decreased last year
    • The banking market is currently still very receptive to new financing with comparatively beneficial terms & conditions – especially for companies with high credit ratings (e.g. In-vestment Grade and good sub-investment grade). However, this window could close rather rapidly over the next few months, particularly for companies with lower ratings in the non-investment grade "BB"-range and below
Macroeconomic data does not warrant short-term interest rate cuts
    • Inflation in Germany has since fallen again from its peak (over 11% as per October 2022) to cur-rently 2.7% (provisional as per February 2024), but remains above the European Central Bank's (ECB) 2% inflation target of 3.5%, which also applies to the core inflation rate adjusted for energy and food
    • In the eurozone, which is more important for the ECB, inflation (provisional) as of February 2024 is 2.6% and the core inflation rate is 3.1%, with core inflation in particular also remaining well above the ECB's 2% inflation target
    • In 14 of the 20 countries of the eurozone, inflation is currently – well above in most cases – the ECB's inflation target of 2%
    • In the USA, inflation has now fallen from over 9% back to around 3.0% after the Fed announced interest rate hikes at the end of January 2022 and has already raised key interest rates eleven times in the meantime, by a total of 5.25% to 5.50%
    • Since mid-2022, the ECB has raised the key interest rate significantly in 10 steps from 0% to 4.5% due to high inflation, which has also inevitably led to an increase in corporate lending rates. Inflation has now stabilised or fallen significantly. However, the ECB is not expected to cut interest rates in the short term (in the next 6 to 9 months) as it has announced that it will continue to monitor inflation for the time being with a view to second-round effects. The discontinuation of the ECB's bond purchase programme in 2022 and the expected new debt levels of many EU countries also do not speak in favour of interest rate cuts in the short to medium term.


The FCF SmallCap / MidCap research reports are periodically updated and cover eight specific sectors as well as certain general capital market developments. Based on the data of publicly listed European corporates, the respective sector and market are individually analyzed. Our systematic analyses include information to, amongst others:

Sector Research

Automotive Supplier Market Study
Research on the automotive supplier sector based on available data from European automotive suppliers.

European Chemicals Market Study
Research on the chemicals sector based on available data from European chemical companies.

Forestry Paper and Packaging Market Study Cover GenericForestry, Paper and Packaging Market Study Research on the forestry, paper and packaging sector based on available data from European forestry, paper and packaging companies.

Industrial Machinery Market Study
Research on the industrial machinery sector based on available data from European industrial machinery companies.

Metals and Materials Market Study CoverMetals & Materials Market Study
Research on the metals & materials sector based on available data from European metals & materials producers.

Logistics & Transportation Market Study
Research on the logistics and transport sector based on publicly available data from European logistics and transportation providers.

European Infrastructure & Construction Market Study
Research on the logistics and transport sector based on publicly available data from European logistics and transportation providers.

Pharmaceutical Market Study CoverEuropean Pharmaceutical Market Study
Research on the pharma sector based on available data from European pharma companies.

Pharmaceutical Market Study CoverTMT Market Study
Research on the TMT sector based on available data from European TMT companies.

Recycling Services Market Study CoverEuropean Recycling Services Market Study
Research on the recycling services sector based on available data from European recycling services companies.

Market Research

The FCF market research covers e.g. fundamental analysis of interest rate and margin development in the German corporate lending / debt market, development of the rating and credit standing of banks addressing the German MidCap corporate lending market, etc.

Bank Monitor
Analysis of the historic and current spreads of credit default swaps for banks most active in the German corporate lending market.

IPO Market Monitor
Providing relevant valuation metrics (e.g. ratios, multiples), general information and performance data of European IPOs that have been issued within the last six months.

Valuation Monitor
The FCF Valuation Monitor is a comprehensive quarterly valuation analysis (e.g. ratios and multiples) for the German small / midcap market segment of selected industry sectors.

Credit Monitor
Comprehensive analysis of the interest rate environment and loan market for corporates in Germany.


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