EU faces bankruptcies, bad loans as COVID-19 help for firms ends — document


FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter exterior the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium August 21, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo/File Photo

BRUSSELS — The European Union is dealing with a surge in bankruptcies and bad loans as soon as the post-pandemic financial restoration begins to take maintain and governments start withdrawing state schemes which might be holding many firms on life help, a EU document signifies.

The European Commission observe, ready for euro zone finance ministers’ talks on Monday, stated that due to nearly 2.3 trillion euros ($2.8 trillion) in nationwide liquidity help measures, euro zone governments have up to now staved off an increase in insolvencies.

Without such help and new loans from banks, nearly 1 / 4 of EU corporations would have had liquidity issues by the tip of 2020 after exhausting their money buffers due to the financial havoc wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the observe stated.

“Once the unprecedented public support measures expire, a number of businesses are likely to default on their debt obligations, leading to higher non-performing loans and insolvencies,” stated the observe, seen by Reuters.

Almost half of all firms that may have had liquidity issues final yr due to the pandemic had been already at a excessive danger of default earlier than the disaster, and had been now being stored afloat solely by authorities help. They had been due to this fact more likely to face solvency considerations after the disaster, the observe stated.

The ministers’ talks on Monday will concentrate on find out how to handle the method of weaning firms off state help sooner or later and the way finest to determine, with the help of personal sector buyers, which corporations are viable and may survive.

‘More targeted support’

“There is full agreement that fiscal support needs to be maintained for now, for quite a while,” a senior euro zone official concerned within the preparation of the talks stated.

“But there is also recognition that support may need to change shape, that there will need to be a gradual transition to more targeted support.”

The observe stated that within the third quarter of 2020, euro zone financial institution loans underneath moratoria totalled 587 billion euros, of which about 60% was company loans. In the second quarter the share of bad loans within the euro zone to complete loans was 5.23%.

“Overall, the volume of non-performing loans is expected to rise across the EU, although the timing and magnitude of this increase remains uncertain,” the Commission stated.

Fortunately, the stronger capital place of banks in comparison with the monetary disaster a decade in the past ought to help them to soak up the shock higher this time, the Commission stated.

Worst affected had been resorts and eating places, the place three-quarters had liquidity issues, but in addition transport, automotive makers, primary metals and textiles. Communication companies, meals and prescribed drugs and computer systems and electronics fared a lot better.

Bad mortgage ratios

Problems with company liquidity usually are not but mirrored in bad mortgage ratios.

“While it is clear that the debt-servicing capacity of the private sector has been adversely affected by the pandemic, government credit guarantees and loan repayment moratoria have so far prevented a rise in loan defaults,” the observe stated.

“Thus, the headline NPL (non-performing loan) ratios – based on a rather stable NPL stock and the increasing loan denominator – do not yet reflect the underlying deterioration in the credit profile of borrowers,” the Commission stated.

Of the virtually 2.3 trillion euros in authorities liquidity measures at EU degree, firms and households have taken up some 32% of the full, largely in public ensures, the observe stated.

To preserve going regardless of the lockdowns, corporations burnt by means of their money reserves and borrowed cash as properly as making use of presidency help. Borrowing from banks surged essentially the most in France, Italy and Spain, reversing 10 years of decline in company debt to banks, the observe stated.

The ministers will now have to determine find out how to preserve credit score channels open to viable corporations; surveys indicated that credit score wants already exceeded availability in all euro-area international locations.

The Commission stated that, whereas euro zone banks had been typically robust going into the disaster, they now believed company and and economy-wide dangers had elevated.

“According to the ECB’s Bank lending survey, banks expect to further tighten credit conditions and raise collateral requirements,” the Commission stated.

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