After a 2019 that was dominated by trade tensions between the United States and China, Coface has observed an incipent recovery in Asia (excluding China), supported by supply chain shifts and additional liquidity from the US Federal Reserve . Average payment terms improved in 2019, rising to 67 days compared to 69 days in 2018. And while 65% of companies reported experiencing payment delays in 2019 (63% in 2018), the average payment duration decreased to 85 days in 2019, down from 88 days in 2018.
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Coface announces the closing of the acquisition of GIEK Kredittforsikring AS, a company created in 2001, and owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, that manages a short-term export credit insurance portfolio. Coface has acquired all GIEK Kredittforsikring AS shares, and the business will thus operate under the brand name Coface GK.Read More
Although the second quarter of 2020 is shaping up to be the most challenging period of the year, there are now good reasons to think that the road to recovery will be long and arduous. Despite immediate tax deferrals, liquidity guarantees, it is likely that many firms will find themselves in difficulty.
According to Coface forecasts, Spain and Italy will be among the economies hardest hit by COVID-19, contracting by 12.8% and 13.6% respectively in 2020. Corporate insolvencies are expected to increase by 22% in Spain and 37% in Italy by 2021, relative to 2019 levels. For 2021, Coface forecasts that Spain and Italy’s GDP will rebound by 10.2% and 8.9%, leaving the economies 3.9% and 5.9% below 2019 levels.
The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are of an unprecedented scale in Europe. The twin supply-demand shock has resulted in the halting of production (at least partially) in many companies as employees cannot go to work and in a fall in consumption because of mobility restrictions. The decline in revenues has deteriorated companies’ cash positions, fostering an increase in payment delays – and, ultimately, payment defaults.
Many European countries have temporarily amended the legal framework of default procedures to deal with the crisis
A few weeks after the first containment easing measures, economic activity seems to be picking up in most European countries. However, about two months after China, this gradual and partial recovery will not erase the effects of containment on global growth.
In this context, Coface forecasts that the recession in 2020 (a 4.4% drop in world GDP) will be stronger than that of 2009. Despite the recovery expected in 2021 (+5.1%) – assuming there is no second wave of the coronavirus pandemic – GDP would remain 2 to 5 points lower in the United States, the eurozone, Japan, and the United Kingdom, when compared to 2019 levels.
In the context of weaker activity in China due to the health crisis, Coface’s latest survey on business payments in China shows a deterioration in payment behaviour in 2019.
66% of surveyed companies reported payment delays. The length of payment delays remained stable at 86 days in 2019. Nevertheless, sectors that have been hit the most by lockdown measures will have to delay payments in order to survive in 2020 and the number of corporate insolvencies should increase.
recession and soaring uncertainty
The global recession is expected to coincide with a sharp decline in international trade this year, especially as international trade tends to decline more than GDP in times of crisis. However, the extent of this overreaction is difficult to measure. The World Trade Organization (WTO) forecasts a 13-32% decline in world trade. This estimate indicates that all regions would suffer a double-digit decline in their trade volumes
While the focus so far has mainly been on China, Europe, and the United States, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to be even more severe for emerging economies.
Even though their degree of vulnerability to this shock depends on many factors, the starting point of their public finances is a key issue, as it determines their capacity to respond to the crisis’ many economic consequences. However, their public debt was already at an all-time high in 2019. Coface assesses the direct risks (economic and sectoral) of the pandemic on the development of emerging countries.
Due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its impact on the global economy, it is unlikely that China will be able to achieve its 2020 growth target. Coface forecasts a growth rate of 4% for the Chinese economy in 2020.
Economic activity in China could decelerate faster than expected this year and miss the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) growth target of 5.6%. In recent months, the Chinese economy has faced multiple headwinds, such as the consequences of the trade war with the United States, as well as structural factors, like the country’s demographic situation (15% of the Chinese population is over 65 years old). In this context, the COVID-19 pandemic is an additional shock that will add significantly to existing challenges.
First quarter shows solid operational performance but is impacted by the initial effects of the COVID-19 crisis
Turnover: €370m, up 0.9% at constant FX and perimeter
Record client retention and strong new business momentum prior to lockdown
Continued slowdown in client activities -a trend that is expected to accelerate over the coming quarters
Trade Credit Insurance growing at 0.2% at constant FX and perimeters
Dynamic growth of services, up 12%
At first, the COVID-19 epidemic in China only affected a limited number of value chains – but it has since turned into a global pandemic. Its repercussions have created a double shock – supply and demand – that is affecting a large number of industries in all over the world. The uniqueness of this crisis makes comparisons with the previous ones useless, as they all had financial origins (e.g. global credit crisis of 2008-09, great depression of 1929). The question is no longer which countries and sectors of activity will be affected by this shock, but rather which few will be spared.Read More
Ratings agency Fitch has, on 31 March 2020 placed Coface on Rating Watch Negative. This includes Coface’s Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) rating.
The ratings agency estimates that the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic will have a negative impact on the trade credit insurance industry, and that it is now more likely that Coface’s profitability, as measured by Fitch, will reach a level no longer compatible with the current rating.
The rating agency Moody's confirmed Coface’s Insurance Financial Strength (IFS) A2 rating on 27 March 2020. The outlook for this rating has been changed to negative.
As part of its credit insurance sector review, the agency estimates that the progression of the coronavirus epidemic, and the measures taken by governments to slow its spread, represent a scenario of severe stress for credit insurers.
Despite the economic slowdown, Coface’s latest survey on business payments in Poland shows that payment delays have systematically shortened since 2017 – but the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the Polish economy remains to be seen.
Payment terms: transport and construct offer the most generous credit periods
Poland’s GDP growth reached 4.1% in 2019 – a slowdown from the 5.1% recorded in 2018 – and is expected to slow further: Coface anticipates GDP growth in Poland to reach 3.3% in 2020. A relatively favourable macroeconomic environment has created supportive conditions for businesses in previous years. However, the full impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus remains to be observed, notably concerning trade partners. The coronavirus’ knock-on effects could further impact the economic outlook for Poland.
Coface continues its innovative strategy expanding online offerings such as this novel Cross Border Network product. With this service, Coface enables its clients to visualize a company’s and individual’s connections leveraging the largest B2B database in CEE with about 34 million companies.
This easy-to-understand interactive, visual application provides useful background information on companies, their risk level, and sales potential
Coface capitalizes on its strategic successes and launches Build to Lead, its new 2023 strategic plan
The strategic plan Build to Lead is based on strong beliefs: credit insurance is an attractive service business, with strong barriers to entry and growth potential where Coface has strong capabilities which it will seek to deepen: its skills, scale and agility.
This new plan will broaden and deepen ongoing transformations at Coface to be recognized as a leader in its industry. It includes two types of initiatives to drive the business forward: the first for the core credit insurance business and the second for the specialty businesses that can leverage its capabilities and know-how.
COFACE SA (“COFACE”) acknowledges the announcement made by Natixis of its sale of 29.5% of the share capital of COFACE to Arch Capital Group Ltd (“Arch”) as well as Arch’s affirmed support of COFACE’s current management and of its new 2023 strategic plan Build to Lead.
Natixis has stated its intention to resign from COFACE’s Board of Directors after the closing of the transaction. Natixis also specified that its agreement with Arch states that, on this date, COFACE’s Board of Directors will be composed of ten members comprising four members proposed by Arch and six independent directors (including the current five independent directors).
AM Best assigns A (Excellent) rating to Compagnie française d'assurance pour le commerce extérieur and to Coface Re SA
Rating agency AM Best has assigned a Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) to Compagnie française d'assurance pour le commerce extérieur (la Compagnie) and to Coface Re. Both ratings have a stable outlook.
The agency has also affirmed the FSR of Coface North America Insurance Company (CNAIC) to A (Excellent). The outlook remains stable.
Coface Romania Study: Insolvencies in Romania decreased by 22% in 2019 compared to previous year, reaching its lowest level over the last decade
The majority of insolvencies were registered in the wholesale and distribution sector followed by the constructions and retail sectors
The most recent Coface Romania study shows that in 2019 there were 6,384 insolvent companies, -22% less compared to the level registered in the previous year. The data also indicate a gradual decrease of insolvent companies with revenues over EUR 0.5 million (medium and large companies). The latter reached 444 companies during 2019, below the average of 550 over the last three years. This evolution was also reflected in the decrease of financial losses of only RON 4.6 billion in 2019, half of the average for the last three years.
As Coface launches the 2020 edition of its Country & Sector Risks Handbook, Chief Economist Julien Marcilly today presents the main threats for the global economy in 2020 at the Coface Country Risk Conference in Paris.
The US-China trade agreement will not be enough to rekindle international trade
With 2019 being marked by a rise in protectionist rhetoric (more than 1,000 measures implemented worldwide) and the first decline of global trade in ten years, Coface anticipates that international trade will grow by only 0.8% in 2020. The truce trade agreement between the United States and China is unlikely to restore corporate confidence or significantly boost industry and world trade, especially as only 23% of the protectionist measures taken between 2017 and 2019 affect the United States or China. The rise in protectionism is therefore a global and lasting trend that to which companies will need to adapt
Turkey Payment Survey 2019: better picture in payment term but companies remain cautions regarding economic prospects
Right after the recession that the economy went into during the second half of 2018 the private sector remains mixed in terms of the economic outlook.
Payment terms: shorter terms reflect preference for liquidity
The deterioration of cash flow has slowed down and fewer companies expressed tougher conditions while making their payments. Nowadays, the average payment term offered by Turkish companies to their clients stood nearly at 85 days in the domestic market and at 69 days in export markets (vs 108 days in 2017).