News & Publications

All Coface Publications

04/11/2018
Economic Publications

Country and Sector Risks Barometer - Q1 2018 - Beyond the peak of global growth

Positive economic signs continued to accumulate in 2018 during the first quarter. There was sustained growth in investment and a situation of almost full employment in more and more countries, which encouraged households to consume more. Companies are taking full advantage of this virtuous circle and the number of insolvencies in the Eurozone and the United States is expected to fall again this year, by 7% and 5% respectively. According to Coface’s forecasts, Portugal will be the best “pupil” in the monetary union and the country has been reclassified from A3 to A2.

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04/05/2018
Economic Publications

The singularity of political risk in Central and Eastern Europe

With the ongoing wave of elections in the Central and Eastern Europe region, CEE countries are experiencing a key period of change in a context of political risk and economic acceleration, which currently seem to be the two crucial issues attributed to the region. The region’s average GDP growth rate soared to 4.5% in 2017, i.e. the highest level since 2010. However, local politics and national judiciary system changes are creating problems for the region. Worsening relations with the European Union (EU) and a threat of sanctions for Poland have raised additional concerns.

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03/20/2018
Economic Publications

Companies in France:fewer business insolvencies, but still just as many “zombies”

The number of corporate insolvencies in France has continued to decline at the beginning of 2018: -8.3% year-on-year to end of January. This good performance takes place against the backdrop of stronger growth in 2017 (to 2%).

While all sectors benefited from buoyant activity and recorded a decline in business insolvencies, the construction sector performed best, contributing to half of the total decrease recorded. Other sectors – such as services for private individuals, automotive, and clothing – continue to benefit from firm household consumption at the start of this year, driven in particular by the fall in the unemployment rate (8.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017, after 9.3% in the third), a low interest rate environment, and high levels of confidence.

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03/20/2018
Economic Publications

Clash of the Titans: China’s rise fuels competition with Japan’s interests in Asia

China has undoubtedly modelled itself as the new champion of globalisation. Nowhere is this felt more strongly than in Asia. Since its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, the country has positioned itself at the core of the world’s most important supply chains, rapidly becoming the largest trade partner for many Asian economies. More recently, the intensifying rhetoric surrounding China’s Belt and Road initiative1 – aimed at boosting investments in infrastructure and beyond – has led observers to neglect the role played by another regional powerhouse: Japan. Although China may be king in terms of trade, it is considerably behind Japan in terms of investment. But fears surrounding China’s hegemonic dominance in Asia Pacific (APAC) may have been overplayed: Japan remains a key player in this sphere, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

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03/05/2018
Economic Publications

Mexico Automotive Industry: Headwinds coming from the North

The Mexican automotive industry has experienced strong growth since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993. The sector representativeness rose, from 1.5% of GDP and 8.5% of the manufacturing output in 1993, to 3% of GDP and 18% of manufacturing output in 20151. It is currently the world’s seventh-largest vehicle manufacturer and the largest in Latin America (after overtaking Brazil in 2014). However, the industry’s bright performance is not perceived positively by all.

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11/22/2017
Economic Publications

The UK automotive sector and Brexit – or, how to slow a rolling industry?

The UK automotive industry is entering a dry period. The voices of the main UK industry representatives and their concerns regarding the negative effects of a potential hard Brexit appear to remain unheard, while other difficulties are accumulating against the backdrop of uncertainty. These representatives believe that current negotiations between the UK and the EU are, at this stage, unfavourable to them, despite the Prime Minister recently emphasizing the country’s will to remain in the Single Market.

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11/14/2017
Economic Publications

Global growth recovery: A real or a false start?

For once, the summer proved to be particularly quiet. No major events disrupted the path taken by the world economy. While the summers of 2015 and 2016 were marked by the stock market crash in China and then by Brexit, the
summer of 2017 was, instead, characterised by historically low volatility on financial markets at the end of July, while numerous stock market indices like the S&P 500 and the MSCI Emerging Markets reached record highs.

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11/14/2017
Economic Publications

Morocco: drawing out of payment periods, a perplexing trend?

Contrary to 2016, which was characterized by a low economic growth of 1.4%, 2017 is marked by higher expectations with growth expected to exceed 4%. Paradoxically, the question of payment periods and delays has never been more current now in this context.

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11/14/2017
Economic Publications

Argentina legislative elections: is the continuity of the pro-business direction at stake?

Since Mauricio Macri took office in mid-December 2015, the economy has started to recover. The exchange rate was liberalised during Macri’s first week in office, price controls were removed, import barriers were lifted, discredited national economic statistics were revamped, subsidies were reduced and the holdout saga was finally resolved in April 2016. The last of these measures allowed the country to regain access to the international financial market after a hiatus of 15 years. Coface subsequently upgraded Argentina’s country assessment to B1 in December 2016. The positive trend did however come, as expected, with short term side effects. Inflation picked up to 41 % in the end of the first year of government, reducing household purchasing power and leading the economy into recession (GDP -2.2 % in 2016). Social protests flourished in response.

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11/14/2017
Economic Publications

Are bond markets the new “spare tyre” for corporates in emerging economies?

If the year 2017 is synonymous with a slight economic upturn in the emerging markets, let’s not forget the previous three years were marked by increased corporate risk. The reasons for this were numerous: declining commodity
prices, high corporate indebtedness, production overcapacity, political risk at the highest level, etc. In this tumultuous environment, businesses have also had to deal with tighter credit conditions from banking institutions.

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11/14/2017
Economic Publications

China-Africa: Will the marriage of convenience last?

Wolf Warrior 2, released in July 2017, became the first non-Hollywood movie to break into the top 100 highest-grossing film of all time at the global box office. The action movie portrays China as Africa’s protector. Just four days after the release of the movie, China opened its first overseas military base on the coast of Djibouti, embodying the message of the movie. China has demonstrated a particular interest in Djibouti, a small country in the Horn of Africa, as a gateway to the continent, especially since the first Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

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09/26/2017
Economic Publications

Time to address the infrastructure gap in Latin America

During the commodity super-cycle that lasted over a decade, until around 2014, Latin American economies showed robust performance. Growth was possible even in the context of generally weak infrastructure. Higher revenues from the exports of primary goods led to the expansion of public and private domestic consumption. Activity throughout these years was driven by the flourish of an emerging middle class and by populist governments that disregarded the cyclical feature of commodities.

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09/08/2017
Economic Publications

Automotive and transport is the leading sector in the region CEE

The Top 500 companies generated EUR 580 billion in 2016 – a minor decrease of 0.6% – and experienced a greater downturn in net profit by -3.1% to EUR 26.3 billion. In contrast to the decrease in turnover and net profit, employment rates boomed. The CEE Top 500 companies employed 4.5% of the total labour force in the region, strengthening their workforce significantly by +3.9% to 2.2 million people. This development was reflected in the declining unemployment rates in the region.

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08/07/2017
Economic Publications

Latin America: The winners and losers of “Trumponomics”

Political changes in the US have caused uncertainty over the trade policies that could be implemented and the region’s vulnerability to tighter financial conditions. Since Donald Trump’s victory, the currencies of many emerging countries have fallen against the dollar. Mexico’s currency was the most greatly affected in the world, with 19 % depreciation against the USD in 2016. This is the country’s worst depreciation since the Tequila crisis in 1994. By contrast, the US stock market reacted positively following Trump’s victory announcement.

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07/24/2017
Economic Publications

FOCUS - Tough Funding Conditions for GCC Corporates

Oil prices declined by around 75% between mid-2014 and January 2016, with Brent crude prices falling as low as $28 a barrel. Since then, prices have risen back up by nearly 85%, to around $50 a barrel. Nevertheless, persistently low prices are continuing to weigh on liquidity conditions across Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Firstly, these countries are still heavily dependent on oil, despite efforts made towards greater economic diversification.

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06/08/2017
Economic Publications

Panorama - In the face of Brexit, are British businesses left to sink or swim?

One year after the “yes” vote for Brexit, seen as traumatic, the time has come for the United Kingdom to accelerate the implementation of its exit from the European Union (EU). Prime Minister Theresa May wants to have free rein by calling early legislative elections on 8 June, where her victory is expected.

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06/06/2017
Economic Publications

Russia – From Recession to Recovery

Between 1999 and 2008, Russia’s GDP grew by an average of almost 7% per year. In 2009, the fall in oil prices led to a severe recession (-7.8%). Subsequently, the effect of factors that had supported growth ceased

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05/18/2017
Economic Publications

Panorama - UAE payments survey : slight payment delays expected, due to slower growth

At a time when businesses are facing a decline in demand and liquidity issues, a sharper look into payment behaviour is a must.

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05/04/2017
Economic Publications

Panorama - Labour Shortages in Central and Eastern European Countries (CEE)

Labour markets in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region are continuing to improve. Unemployment rates have reached the lowest levels ever recorded and most CEE economies are enjoying lower unemployment than the EU average.

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05/04/2017
Economic Publications

Focus - Insolvencies in the construction industry in France: Interest Rates are Key

Since the low of 2014, glimmers of recovery have been seen in the construction industry. Corporate insolvencies are declining. French households are increasingly attracted by bricks and mortar as their purchasing power is at its strongest since 2003, particularly due to interest rates also being at historic lows.

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