Almost certainly, we’ve all been following the Covid-19 (aka Coronavirus) developments quite closely. With cases spreading quickly, the past few days marked a turning point in the outbreak as we witnessed a number of countries implement stringent lock-down and curfew measures.
Unsurprisingly, global markets are taking a hit: FTSE, Dow Jones, Nasdaq, CAC40, DAX, Nikkei and all major indices have seen sharp falls exceeding 25% with some reaching 35% over the past month. Economists across Europe are now adjusting their growth forecasts across the board. According to the Financial Times, ex BOE policymakers are predicting a 2 to 5% drop in GDP in Q2. Disruption to travel and supply chains, mass cancellations and closures, the contraction in social activity and so on have already started to have an impact on the health of businesses - with certain industries, such as travel and hospitality, hit harder than others.
The coming months will be challenging for the economy as a whole. We anticipate a rise in late payments and insolvencies, both in the directly affected sectors and more generally. This will, of course, have major knock-on effects. SMEs, in particular, can expect to experience longer payment delays, an increase in bad debt, and all the consequences associated with this.
During these times, we’ll continue to support SMEs in any way we can - be that helping you protect your cash flow with credit insurance, or pointing you in the direction of the most useful coverage and resources we’re reading.
Your Hokodo Team