1. Research
  2. Products & Topics
  3. Special
  4. Thematic

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]

87 (13-24)
March 24, 2020
16
The world economy has, to all intents and purposes, ground to a halt with widespread social distancing and lock-down measures resulting in the closure of restaurants, retail, travel, sporting events and many other business. The impact on local and global growth is unlike any other period in the past as governments come up with economic rescue packages underwritten by central bank easing. [more]
March 3, 2020
17
Growth in luxury has been primarily driven by brand heat and newness, however millennials and Gen Z are increasingly demanding more quality and sustainability. In a recent Deutsche Bank Research consumer survey on what criteria are important for luxury spending and how they have changed over time: sustainability saw the third largest increase to importance when purchasing luxury. [more]
February 28, 2020
Region:
Analyst:
19
In addition to absorbing a virus shock through the China export demand and supply chain channels, Europe now has to absorb a domestic outbreak. Voluntary steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (“social distancing”) as well as official containment measures are likely to disrupt economic activity. We expect disruption beyond northern Italy, an area which accounts for about 5% of euro area GDP. A temporary economic shock similar in scale to Hong Kong’s when SARS struck in 2003 would only need to occur in 10% of the euro area for area-wide GDP to stagnate in H1 and take the zone to the verge of technical recession. It is a highly fluid situation, but this might be a best case outcome. [more]
February 27, 2020
20
We revisit the debt situation in Argentina and update our assessment on debt sustainability by projecting both debt stocks and FX debt repayment capacity. Argentina’s debt problem originates from fiscal dominance and lack of nominal anchor. The problem will likely persist in the future unless Argentina implements structural reforms. Current macroeconomic conditions are significantly more challenging than in the early 2000s in terms of potential growth, inflation, and external conditions. [more]
February 25, 2020
21
The Phase One trade agreement between the US and China is more than a trade war truce and USD200 bn of purchases. It covers a broad range of topics from intellectual property (IP) protection to opening up China's market. Our broad assessment is successful implementation of this trade deal could bring sizable long-term benefits to China and the world economy. [more]
February 18, 2020
Analyst:
22
There were few asset classes that saw quite the stratospheric growth in 2019 like the green bond market. Now, even though it’s a decade or so old, the market is still very much in its infancy and last year we saw a bit over $250bn of green bonds issued around the world. Because this is tiny relative to the wider corporate bond market, green bonds don’t receive a lot of attention. But that is changing quickly. The growth of the green corporate bond market is impressive, more than three-quarters of the market comes from the US or Europe, with the latter making up nearly 60% alone. China makes up just 5%. Currency-wise, 95% of these bonds are denominated in either USD or EUR. At a sector level, utilities (39%) and banking (33%) dominate. [more]
February 3, 2020
Region:
24
Brexit talks are only moving onto the next phase, the UK and EU must agree the terms of a future economic relationship by the end of the status quo transition period on December 31st 2020. The next chapter in talks is expectant to generate less in the way of intraday excitement for investors, their outcome is more important for the UK's future growth prospects and asset valuations. [more]
7.6.3