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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.
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.
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.
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