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29.07.2020
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Tüm Coface Yayınları

17.07.2020
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Global Transport: What does the future hold beyond COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a mobility crisis, mainly because of physical distancing requirements and the necessity to avoid confined spaces, to limit the virus’ propagation. This has had a disastrous impact on the global transport sector1, with air passenger transport being the most affected segment. According to IATA (International Air Transport Association), air traffic decreased by 94% year-on-year (YoY) in April 2020, and is not expected to return to its pre-COVID level before several years. Moreover, other segments of the transport sector (maritime, rail) are also experiencing a strong deterioration in activity at the global level, even though some markets (such as rail freight between China and Europe) are benefiting from the situation. The crisis is also affecting planemakers and their suppliers, whose financial health heavily relies on aircraft activity.

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14.07.2020
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United States: Two-speed business bankruptcies

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the United States (U.S.) very hard, inflicting a heavy human and economic toll. The abrupt halt in activity to contain the spread of the coronavirus from March onwards has resulted in a 5% contraction in the first quarter of 2020 year-on-year (YoY), the sharpest drop recorded since 2008, as well as a surge in the unemployment rate. While the economy has already been declared in recession1, the decline in GDP is expected to be even more severe in the second quarter. The gradual reopening, which began across the U.S. in May, should allow the economy to gradually recover. In its baseline scenario, Coface forecasts GDP to contract by 5.6% in 2020, before rebounding by 3.3% in 2021. Nevertheless, the resurgence of outbreaks in several states - including Texas, Florida and California - in June, which will slow or even reverse the reopening process, exposes this forecast to significant downside risks.

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03.07.2020
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Asia-Pacific Corporate Payment Survey 2020: COVID-19 will overturn last year’s incipient recovery

Coface’s annual Asia Corporate Payment Survey evaluates the payment behaviour of companies across nine economies in Asia Pacific. Data collection took place during the fourth quarter of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, and valid responses from over 2500 companies in the region were collected. 2019 was dominated by trade tensions between the United States (U.S.) and China. Despite these trade disruptions, the region (excluding China) experienced an incipient recovery, favoured by supply chain shifts and additional liquidity from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The recovery will prove shortlived, as the COVID-19 pandemic severely threatens the growth outlook, with many economies in the region expected to contract the most since the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-1998.

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25.06.2020
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Are corporate balance sheets in Spain and Italy ready for the COVID-19 shock?

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Spain and Italy will be amongst the economies hardest hit by COVID-19, contracting by 12.8% and 13.6% respectively in 2020, according to Coface’s forecasts. To approximate the potential impact of this contraction
on corporate balance sheets, we ran simulations on the evolution of firm solvency, using central bank data that accounts for differences across sectors and firm sizes. Results suggest that some large firms in the automotive
and metals sector in Spain could suffer from small liquidity buffers.

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18.06.2020
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Corporate insolvencies in Europe: temporary framework amendments kick the can down the road

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are of unprecedented scale in Europe. The double shock of supply and demand has resulted in the halting - at least partially - of production in many companies due to the impossibility for some employees to go to work, and in a fall in consumption1 because of mobility restrictions. The decline in revenues has deteriorated the liquidity of companies, fostered an increase in payment delays and, ultimately, of illiquidity. In most European countries, the occurrence of a situation of illiquidity compels the director of the company to declare it within a given deadline to the competent authority who will then initiate an insolvency proceeding, failing which he will be held personally liable. However, in order to simultaneously protect the structure and the recovery capacity of their economies once the pandemic is under control, the vast majority of European governments have: 1) implemented measures to support corporate liquidity, such as deferrals (or cancellations) on social security contributions and taxes, or state guarantees on loans granted by banks and 2) temporarily amended the legal framework regulating insolvency proceedings. 

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10.06.2020
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From a massive shock to a differentiated recovery

A few weeks after the first containmenteasing measures, economic activityseems to be picking up in most Europeancountries. However, about two monthsafter China, this gradual and partialrecovery will not erase the effects ofcontainment on growth: the depth of the recession in2020 (a 4.4% drop in world GDP according to Coface)will be stronger than in 2009. Despite the expectedrecovery in 2021 (+5.1%) - in the absence of a secondwave of the pandemic - GDP would remain 2 to 5 pointslower in the United States, the Eurozone, Japan and theUnited Kingdom compared to 2019 levels. The expectedincrease in household precautionary savings andcancellation of business investment because of persistentuncertainty about the evolution of the pandemic, aswell as the irrecoverable nature of production lossesin some sectors (particularly service activities and rawmaterials used as combustible) explain the lack of arapid catch-up effect.   

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02.06.2020
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China Payment Survey 2020: Payment delays will increase further

Coface’s 2020 China CorporatePayment Survey looks at thepayment behaviour of over1,000 companies in Chinain late 2019. The data wascompiled in the fourth quarter,which means that the figures do not takeinto account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Chinese economy.Notwithstanding this caveat, our surveyshows a deterioration in payment behaviourin 2019, which ultimately does not bodewell for Chinese companies in the contextof weaker activity in 2020. Coface expectsgrowth to fall to 1.0%, the lowest level in30 years, so given the historic correlationbetween economic activity and paymentdelays, we anticipate a sharp deteriorationin 2020.  

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27.05.2020
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World trade: despite a sudden interruption, global value chains still have a bright future

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, global trade has been dragged down by numerous factors: a global recession, skyrocketing uncertainty, restriction and rising cost of transport and localized protectionism targeting supply of food and critical medical wares. On the bright side, tight border controls have had a limited impact on trade and are being eased gradually in Europe, in order to revive the tourism industry and limit labour shortages in the agricultural sector. In the longer-term, multiple calls to relocate production domestically also constitute risks to the future of global trade. 

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30.04.2020
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COVID-19 swings the spotlight back onto emerging countries’debt

While the focus, so far, has mainly been on China, Europe and the United States, the consequences of theCOVID-19 pandemic are likely to be even more severe in emerging economies. Even though their degreeof vulnerability to this shock depends on many factors, the initial situation of their public finances is akey issue, as it determines their response capacity to the multitude of economic consequences of thiscrisis. However, their public debt was already at an all-time high in 2019.

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16.04.2020
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Can China shield its economy from the impact of COVID-19?

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY China will likely miss its 2020 growth target due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy. Although the government is taking proactive measures to limit the impact of this shock, an increase in corporate insolvencies and structural fragilities is unavoidable.

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07.04.2020
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COVID-19: heading towards a sudden global surge in corporate insolvencies

In the previous Coface quarterly barometer published on 4 February 2020, we anticipated that the main risks for the world economy in 2020 would be, paradoxically, of noneconomic nature. We included political and environmental risks in this category. Three months later, it is another type of non-economic risk that is tilting the global economy into recession. The COVID-19 epidemic in China, initially affecting a limited number of value chains, has turned into a global pandemic that requires the containment of over half of the world’s population, in more than 50 countries. For businesses, the sudden measures taken by governments to stem the expansion of the virus represent a double shock - supply and demand – that is affecting a large number of industries. The uniqueness of this crisis makes comparisons with the previous ones useless, as the latter have a financial origin (world credit crisis of 2008-2009, great depression of 1929).

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15.03.2020
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Poland Payment Survey: Shortened delays but challenging outlook

The fourth edition of Coface’ssurvey on payment experiencesin Poland was carried outi n D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 9 w i t h300 companies participating inthe study. The payment surveyinvestigated businesses’ payment behaviour,which mirrors both the short-term economicsituation and the more structural businessenvironment. In 2019, Poland’s GDP growthreached 4.1%, which  was admittedly aslowdown after 5.1% recorded in 2018.Coface anticipates GDP growth in Poland tocontinue to slow, expected at 3.3% in 2020.A favourable macroeconomic environmenthas created supportive conditions forbusinesses in previous years. However, theextent of the COVID19 outbreak knock-oneff ects remains to be observed, notably ontrade partners, and could further impact theeconomic perspective in Poland.   

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20.02.2020
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COUNTRY RISK ASSESSMENT MAP - FEBRUARY 2020

New edition of the country risk map. Consult, download and print the map of the 161 countries assessed by Coface

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20.02.2020
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COUNTRY & SECTOR RISK BAROMETER: Q4 2019 QUARTERLY UPDATE

The total number of protectionist measures implemented worldwide exceeded 1 ,000 in 2018 and 2019 according to Global Trade Alert, about 40% more than in the previous three years. That said, “only” 23% of all protectionist measures taken between January 1, 2017 and November 15, 2019 were taken by the United States or China. Therefore, protectionism is not exclusive to the world’s two largest economies and the so-called “phase-one” deal to pause the trade war between them is unlikely to be sufficient to put an end to uncertainties related to trade tensions, which cut global GDP growth by around a quarter of a percentage point in 2019. Hence, Coface expects a pursuit of the global economic slowdown in 2020, with global GDP growth forecasted at 2.4%, down from 2.5% the previous year. Coface expects global trade growth to remain weak in 2020 (only +0.8% in volume terms), following a decline by 0.3% in Q3 2019 year-on-year, i.e. the slowest pace since the great crisis of 2008-2009.

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06.02.2020
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SECTOR RISK ASSESSMENT MAP - FEBRUARY 2020

13 major sectors assessed worldwide. Coface assessments are based on 70 years of Coface expertise and on the financial data published by listed companies from 6 geographical sectors. 5 financial indicators are taken into account: turnover, profitability, the net debt ratio, cashflow, and claims observed by our risk managers.

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17.12.2019
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The global automotive industry and enhanced regulations: a very steep path ahead

The global auto sector is facing several challenges including enhanced and stricter regulations against environmental risks in the context of a slowdown of the global economy. Car sales are on a downward trend, as uncertainty bites.

Moreover, regulations around the world are becoming more stringent as Europe and, in the United States, the State of California in particular; implement tougher norms, followed by regulation bodies in other big markets for the auto sector. Consequently, auto companies’ profitability will be impacted, as they will invest to deliver cars tailored to meet their consumers’ evolving needs, while complying with stricter rules regarding requirements to produce cars that generate lower gas emissions for example, which will increase their costs.

Finally, the car sector, while trying not to be outrun, will be reshaped by the entry of newcomers such as Google Waymo and Tesla alongside historical traditional actors, as well as a wave of mergers and acquisitions.

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17.12.2019
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Corporate insolvencies in France: fewer in number, larger in size

Corporate insolvencies fell by 3.3% in France during the first ten months of the year. After a difficult first quarter, due in particular to the repercussions of the “yellow vest” movement, they have been steadily declining since May 2019. As a result, the number of corporate insolvencies is expected to decline over the full year, for the fourth consecutive time. However, Coface expects a slight rebound of insolvencies in 2020 (+0.9%), for around 52,000 proceedings, mainly due to the expected slowdown in the construction sector that was largely driven by public works in 2019. The peak in activity, related to the run-up to the municipal elections, had thus led to a sharp drop in insolvencies in the sector, which accounts for more than a quarter of all insolvencies. Personal services and retail, which are dependent on consumption, have fully benefited from household purchasing power gains, thanks to the dynamism of the labor market and the tax measures taken by the government following the “yellow vest” movement.

On the other hand, while transport is still penalized by the increase in the number of insolvencies for taxi drivers and road hauliers, the automotive sector has seen an increase in the cost of insolvencies, despite a decrease in their frequency. This noticeable relative contradiction is explained by the difficulties encountered in 2019 by automobile equipment manufacturers, of which the weight is significant despite their limited number. More broadly, the first ten months of the year were marked by an increase in corporate insolvencies for companies that generated over EUR 5 million in revenue. In total, during this period, no fewer than six companies with a turnover above EUR 200 million initiated insolvency proceedings, mainly because of structural changes in the concerned sectors.

According to the very first survey conducted by Coface among industry executives, at the beginning of September 2019, French companies are relatively positive about the evolution of their cash fl ow in 2020. However, they are much less so regarding the French economy and, above all, the global environment. Half of the surveyed believe that their export activity will continue to be threatened mainly by trade tensions and geopolitical risks, much more so than by Brexit or a potential recession in the United States. Despite these risks, 2020 will also bring export opportunities, particularly towards the rest of the European Union, which is identified by companies in the sector as the most buoyant market next year, ahead of North America and Asia.

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15.11.2019
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Eurozone economic slowdown: Evidence from Coface’s activity indicators

Since the start of 2019, the signals warning of a slowdown in world growth have multiplied. While all economists agree on this downward trend, following the cyclical peak reached in 2017, there is now a question mark as to the scale of this slowdown, especially in the eurozone. While some commentators are suggesting the likelihood of a recession in 2020, most economists are predicting “only” a slight downturn.

In this period of high uncertainty, forecasting growth is even more difficult and important, which is why Coface has decided to develop its own forecasting tool: the CRAFT (Coface Research Activity Forecasting Tool), which we present in this publication.

This activity indicator is constructed using the statistical method known as Principal Component Analysis (PCA), which enables Coface to extract common signals transmitted by a large number of variables by reducing them to “common factors” or principal components. The variables most likely to affect economic activity are selected via machine learning models. The variables retained - between thirty and fifty for each country - can be grouped into four distinct categories: hard data, survey data, monetary and financial variables, and international indicators. To these four types of variable commonly used for the construction of activity indicators, Coface has added the company default rate on trade receivables insured by Coface aggregated by country. Due to the way it is constructed, CRAFT is strongly correlated with the quarterly GDP growth rate and allows GDP to be correctly projected for the current quarter (nowcasting) and for the next quarter (forecasting).

According to the results of this model, Germany will enter recession in the 3rd quarter (-0.1% after -0.1% already in the previous quarter), before stagnating in the last three months of the year. The French economy will continue to show resilience, but will also slow in the 3rd quarter (+0.2%) before rebounding at the end of the year (+0.3%). Conversely, growth will pick up again in Spain in the 3rd quarter (+0.6%)

before slowing slightly (+0.5%), while nonetheless remaining solid. Finally, activity will remain sluggish in Italy: after a modest rebound in the 3rd quarter at 0.1%, it will again stagnate in the 4th quarter.

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15.11.2019
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Germany Payment Survey 2019: Turn of the tide

This is the third edition of Coface’s survey on payment experience in Germany, done this summer, with 442 participating companies located in Germany. Our survey highlights that Germany is in a changing phase. The pressure on companies due to international competition is getting stronger. This is one of the reasons why German companies have increased their average credit period from 29.8 days to 35.9 days between 2017 and 2019.

Another one is that credit risks are insured. However, the confidence of the companies in their customers decreased. Short-term credit periods still dominate the market. 87% of the surveyed companies request that payments be made within 60 days, which is very short in international comparison (in our Poland payment survey1 64% of the companies requested payments within 60 days in 2019; in our China payment survey the share of companies was below 50% and in Morocco it was only 16%).

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06.11.2019
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Global outlook for the agri-food sector within a protectionist environment

The agri-food sector (alongside the ICT sector), has been at the heart of the global trade war, aggravated by the fact that China’s retaliation measures have often targeted US soybean imports. As a consequence, the US agri-food sector, notably American soybean exporters are negatively impacted by this situation. Coface’s sector risk assessment for the agrifood sector in the United States in on high risk. China is a world-leading importer of soybeans and soybean is a key commodity in the global agri-food sector, as it is widely used both as food for livestock (including pigs) and for human consumption.

A significant knock-on effect of the protectionist environment – and particularly the trade war between the US and China – on the global agri-food sector has been on commodities prices. The latter have recorded high volatility and the dynamic of the ones analysed in this study (corn, soybean, and wheat) have experienced downward trends. Coface has developed a statistical model, using the LASSO technique (Least Absolute Selection Shrinkage Operator - Insert 2) which aims at forecasting commodities prices, notably soybean ones. According to Coface’s model, soybean prices are expected to decrease by 9% in 2019 compared to the previous year.

This outcome is consistent with the analysis that the downward trend of soybean prices is explained by trade tensions and weaker demand from China, notably due to the severe African Swine Fever (ASF) epidemic that led Chinese pork producers to sizeably slaughter their livestock to prevent ASF from spreading. This situation has had an impact on global pork production as Chinese producers used to represent nearly 50% of it. Hence, Chinese consumers will have to turn to other animal protein such as poultry and beef; and as a result, large global exporters of the latter such as Argentina and Brazil are likely to benefit from it.

Another consequence of the trade tensions between the US and China on the global agri-food sector is the transformation of “export routes” for certain commodities, particularly soybean (it has also impacted US production of corn, sorghum and pork). Although some of the major soybean producers and exporters worldwide such as Brazil and Argentina could somewhat benefit from the situation in the medium term, the risks for the agri-food sector as a whole remain on the upside.

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