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Mr. Thierry Tressel and Xiaodan Ding
Corporate sector vulnerabilities have been a central policy topic since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this paper, we analyze some 17,000 publicly listed firms in a sample of 24 countries, and assess their ability to withstand shocks induced by the pandemic to their liquidity, viability and solvency. For this purpose, we develop novel multi-factor sensitivity analysis and dynamic scenario-based stress test techniques to assess the impact of shocks on firm’s ability to service their debt, and on their liquidity and solvency positions. Applying the October 2020 WEO baseline and adverse scenarios, we find that a large share of publicly-listed firms become vulnerable as a result of the pandemic shock and additional borrowing needs to overcome cash shortfalls are large, while firm behavioral responses and policies substantially help overcome the impact of the shock in the near term. Looking forward, while interest coverage ratios tend to improve over time after the initial shock as earnings recover in line with projected macroeconomic conditions, liquidity needs remain substantial in many firms across countries and across industries, while insolvencies rise over time in specific industries. To inform policy debates, we offer an approach to a triage between viable and unviable firms, and find that the needs for liquidity support of viable firms remain important beyond 2020, and that medium-term debt restructuring needs and liquidations of firms may be substantial in the medium-term.
Tao Sun
This note analyzes the economic impact of digital lending to micro and small sized enterprises (MSEs) in China during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. A preliminary analysis of a large pool of MSEs served by a digital bank indicates that digital banks were able to remotely evaluate borrowers and sustain lending during the pandemic, thereby facilitating the business continuity, sales growth, and financial inclusiveness of MSEs. In the global context, a policy framework—leveraging the advantages of digital banks and empowering digital banks, while guarding against possible financial stability risks—would further support small businesses during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Shekhar Aiyar, Mai Chi Dao, Mr. Andreas A. Jobst, Ms. Aiko Mineshima, Ms. Srobona Mitra, and Mahmood Pradhan
This paper evaluates the impact of the crisis on European banks’ capital under a range of macroeconomic scenarios, using granular data on the size and riskiness of sectoral exposures. The analysis incorporates the important role of pandemic-related policy support, including not only regulatory relief for banks, but also policies to support businesses and households, which act to shield the financial sector from the real economic shock.
Carlos Caceres, Diego A. Cerdeiro, Dan Pan, and Suchanan Tambunlertchai
This paper analyzes a group of 755 firms, with aggregate indebtedness of US$6.2 trillion, to assess the solvency risks and liquidity needs facing the U.S. corporate sector based on projections of net income, availability and cost of funding, and debt servicing flows under different stress test scenarios. The paper finds that leveraged corporates account for most of the potential losses arising from the macroeconomic stresses associated with the COVID-19 crisis, with a concentration of these losses in the oil and gas, auto, and capital and durable goods manufacturing sectors. However, potential losses from corporate debt write-downs appear to be a fraction of banks’ capital buffers and, given the size of the leveraged segment and the relatively long duration of that sector’s debt, the near-term liquidity needs of these corporates appear modest. Corporate stresses could, however, amplify the current economic downturn—as firms cut investment spending and reduce employment—potentially giving rise to significant indirect losses for the financial system.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The Korean insolvency and creditor rights framework is complex and has undergone several reforms in recent years. Consistent efforts to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the insolvency system have been made since the Asian crisis by the multiple government agencies that oversee the functioning of the insolvency framework in Korea. This note summarizes the key findings of the analysis of select aspects of the Korean insolvency and creditor rights system against the international standard.2 While the framework for personal insolvency is also discussed (See Annex), its analysis is not prescriptive, as there are no international best practices in this area.