The paper uses firm-level data to assess the financial health of the Vietnamese non-financial corporate sector on the eve of pandemic. Our analysis finds that smaller domestic firms were particularly vulnerable even by regional comparison. A sensitivity analysis suggests that the COVID-19 shock will have a substantial impact on firms’ profitability, liquidity and even solvency, particularly in the hardest hit sectors that are dominated by SMEs and account for a sizeable employment share, but large firms are not immune to the crisis. Risks of default can propagate more broadly through upstream and downstream linkages to industries not directly impacted, with stresses potentially translating into an increase in corporate bankruptcies and bank fragility. Policy measures taken in the immediate aftermath of the crisis have helped alleviate liquidity pressures, but the nature of policy support may have to pivot to support the recovery.
Italy’s labor productivity in market services has declined since 2000, underperforming manufacturing and peer European countries, especially in strongly regulated sectors. A model of monopolistic competition is used to identify which service sectors would benefit more from removing entry and/or exit barriers. Using Italian firm-level data, the paper finds that sectors with high markups, such as professional services, would primarily benefit from removing entry barriers. Sectors with a large mass of unproductive firms, such as retail, would instead benefit from removing exit barriers. Policy recommendations to improve efficiency are outlined in relation to the sectoral priorities identified in the data.