The markets won't forget 2007 in a hurry. As with the Asia crisis and the bursting of the dotcom bubble, last year will live on in market participants' minds as the year of the 'credit crunch', the worst mishap to befall the modern credit sector. But as we head into the new year, the predominant question is whether 2008 will be similarly afflicted. The key consideration in our view is identifying normality: clearly the conditions that applied in credit prior to the summer's turbulence were aberrant, but how optimistic can we be when we consider the market's future?
At the time of writing - in late December - central considerations concern the fortunes of the M-LEC project, which is discussed at length in this issue, prospects for the CMBS market and the consequences of recent central bank intervention. But as the year progresses, other discussions will ensue. Our contacts are divided, for example, on the question of whether the market for CDOs of ABS is dead, and on the structured side it will be interesting to see which products fail to make a return to the market and if others will take their place.
The sufficiency or otherwise of Basel II in light of the liquidity crisis is already being discussed, and the credit rating agencies are no doubt anxiously awaiting indications as to whether increased regulatory oversight of their business is imminent. These questions and more await us in the months ahead, but it would be wrong to ignore the many achievements of 2007 - some of them secured during the worst periods of the liquidity crisis - and we address those in our extensive coverage of the year's best deals. We highlight the best of the year's new issuance, and anticipate their successors as we head into 2008. To all of our readers and friends in the market: good luck.
Matthew Attwood, Editor.