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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"

151 (49-60)
May 14, 2018
50
Developments in artificial intelligence and robotics have far-reaching economic and sociopolitical consequences, with some of them already materialising today. Still, the implications of further progress in these fields are not well understood. Economies around the world are likely to be impacted differently by the diffusion of AI technologies and robotics as wealthy industrial countries might increasingly “re-shore” production. To forge ahead and maximise the benefits for economies and societies, a balance needs to be found globally between successfully promoting key technologies and industries and avoiding the risk of rising protectionism and "knowledge wars". As the pace of technological change and the related launch of new business models are unlikely to slow, the ability of the state and regulators to keep pace is challenged. [more]
May 10, 2018
Analyst:
51
The Panmunjom Declaration by the two Koreas reiterates their earlier calls not only for a permanent peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but also for economic cooperation as set forth in the 2007 Declaration. The latter identifies various infrastructure projects that would see South Korea integrated into the Eurasian continent through North Korea. These could result in significant cuts to South Korea's transportation and fuel costs. Moreover, broader economic cooperation between the two Koreas would give South Korea access not only to North Korea's cheap, literate, and highly organized labor but also its vast natural resources. Although the Panmunjom Declaration also calls for disarmament of the two Koreas, any significant progress in this area, as well as in broader economic cooperation, depends on a potential US-NK nuclear deal. Given past experience, the negotiation and implementation of a US-NK agreement is likely to take many months at least. In this report, we discuss potential benefits that South Korea could enjoy from economic cooperation with North Korea. [more]
May 10, 2018
52
Emerging Markets and the Global Economy in the Month Ahead: The source of the recent correction is benign: a repricing of US growth with the EU still poised to grow above potential. With few exceptions (such as Turkey and Argentina) EM inflation remains mostly near or below targets so that forex (FX) weakness is unlikely to trigger meaningful CB responses that could disrupt EM growth – which has yet to catch up with DM. However, USD strength poses a more binding and direct risk of tighter credit conditions for EM than US yields. Still, we would need to see EUR/USD closer to 1.05 for credit conditions to bind. [more]
May 2, 2018
53
With trillions in currencies exchanging hands every day, foreign exchange is indisputably the world’s largest and most liquid financial market. Yet in spite of its size, this report argues that it is also likely to be the least "efficient" compared to other asset classes. [more]
April 23, 2018
54
Markets have been on their toes since the correction that started at end-January. Listless trading certainly reflects this malaise: major equity indexes have not suffered another sharp selloff but nevertheless remain near their year-to-date lows. While fundamentals remain robust, geopolitics and trade war fears, concerns over slowing global growth, and idiosyncratic issues in the tech sector have all weighed. [more]
April 19, 2018
55
When will the next major default cycle occur? We assess lead indicators of previous default cycles in an attempt to predict the timing of the next one. Most indicators with a relatively short lead time suggest no imminent concerns of rising defaults through 2018. But some longer-term lead time indicators are starting to issue warning signs. Much can change over the next 12-24 months to shift the outlook, but H1 2020 looks a realistic start of the next major default cycle based on our analysis at this stage. [more]
March 14, 2018
60
Robust, broad-based global expansion. Synchronised growth across regions and economies, in many cases at above-trend levels. We expect global growth to accelerate to +3.9% this year, marginally above 2017, as fundamentals remain supportive. We expect the US and eurozone to continue growing above potential, but do not anticipate any further acceleration. In China, we expect growth to slow, and are more worried about inflation and financial risks than consensus. 2018 should mark the peak of the current cyclical expansion; growth should decelerate from 2019. [more]
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