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The persistence of zombie firms in a low yield world

March 1, 2018
In the fourth part of our series on the impact of rising yields, we discuss the rising incidence of zombie firms in recent years. Bottom-up data of some 3,000 companies in the FTSE All World index show that the percentage of zombie firms has more than tripled to 2.0% of firms in 2016 from 0.6% in 1996. Such firms are defined as those with an interest coverage ratio under 1x for 2 consecutive years and a price to sales ratio under 3x. That matters because zombie firms are linked to fading business dynamism and because years of low interest rates should have led to fewer such firms, not more. There are early signs we are at a turning point, however. The numbers for 2017, with two-thirds of firms reporting, suggest that zombie firm incidence declined sharply last year. If this proves to be a real trend, it may give central banks confidence that continuing to raise rates and pull away from unconventional monetary policy will have some advantages. [more]

More documents about "International"

149 (73-84)
July 25, 2017
73
As markets enter into the summer lull, it is useful to take a step back. The global economy is in better shape than it has been in several years. This has allowed other central banks to follow the Fed and gradually start their exit journey, a process that is a historic challenge given the unprecedented level of monetary accommodation. But with inflation still below target, a key part of the normalisation puzzle is still missing. [more]
June 22, 2017
Analyst:
74
With the growing use of digital payments, the need for physical cash is no longer self-evident. But: Demand for euro cash is on the rise. Euro cash in circulation tripled between 2003 and 2016 to EUR 1.2 trillion and thus, grew faster than GDP at current prices. It is estimated that euro cash is used for domestic payments, hoarded for saving purposes and held outside the euro area at roughly equal parts. [more]
May 5, 2017
75
Growth in global trade almost stagnated at just 1.3% in 2016, and in some months was even negative. During winter, global trade picked up again, rising by around 3% compared to the same period a year earlier. Given the positive sentiment prevailing across the globe, this rebound could well continue. However, this trend is not yet being fully reflected in other hard economic indicators, usually highly correlated with global trade, and sentiment may therefore overstate the actual trend a little. Still, our simple model of world trade, which suggests moderate growth of just over 2% in 2017 and around 3% in 2018 might represent the lower limit of the forecast range. However, compared to previous cycles the upturn could remain weak, not least because of the global trade restrictions that have been progressively ratcheted up since 2008. [more]
April 25, 2017
Analyst:
76
Politics remain a key focus for markets, but the latest developments in Europe are positive. In France, the first round of the presidential election ruled out the least market-friendly ‎outcome, and although eurosceptic Marine Le Pen is in the run-off as expected, polls suggest reformist Macron should win. The snap election called in Britain for June is a material positive game-changer for Brexit negotiations. [more]
March 30, 2017
Analyst:
77
Decarbonisation initiatives to halve global emissions will dictate how much certain industries can produce over the coming decades. DeCAF – Deutsche Bank’s Carbon Alignment Framework – is a new investment approach which recognises that the volume goals of policymakers and value goals of investors are not necessarily aligned. [more]
November 23, 2016
Analyst:
78
Despite a growing role of electronic payments, demand for cash is on the rise in Europe. Euro cash in circulation has increased to EUR 1.1 trillion, three times as much as in 2003. Cash limits the power of monetary authorities, provides data protection and can therefore act as a guarantor of civil liberties. On the other hand, it is often associated with a stronger shadow economy, even though the shift towards a cashless society seems to trigger higher levels of card fraud. [more]
May 24, 2016
Analyst:
82
The tremendous growth momentum in high-frequency trading seems to have reached its limits in recent years. The increasing cost of infrastructure and relentless competition within the industry are probably the first to blame. In addition, high-frequency trading firms are hardly participating in those dark pools where large block transactions are executed. Both trends are challenging their business model and trading strategies as high-frequency traders have seen their revenues and profits erode. Furthermore, forthcoming tighter prudential regulatory oversight may lead to an overhang of capacity in the high-frequency trading industry. [more]
April 13, 2016
83
A number of factors, including the decline in commodity prices, sizeable corporate foreign-currency debt, a strengthening dollar and the prospect of higher US interest rates, are weighing on the economic and financial outlook in the emerging markets (EM). The relative lack of reform combined with a weakening of some of the structural factors that underpin growth has raised concern about the medium-term outlook in many, but not all EM. [more]
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