Welcome to Fidelity

Select a location so we can provide you with the appropriate information

Bienvenue chez Fidelity

Veuillez sélectionner un pays afin que nous vous communiquions l'information appropriée

Willkommen bei Fidelity

Wählen Sie Ihren Standort aus, damit wir Ihnen die für Sie passenden Informationen anzeigen können.

Benvenuti in Fidelity

Seleziona un paese in modo da consentirci di fornirti le informazioni appropriate

フィデリティのウェブサイトへようこそ

適切な情報を表示するため、現在お住まいの地域を選択してください。

Welcome to Fidelity

Select a location so we can provide you with the appropriate information

Willkommen bei Fidelity

Wählen Sie Ihren Standort aus, damit wir Ihnen die für Sie passenden Informationen anzeigen können.

Important information

I confirm that I am accessing this website for the purpose of acquiring information as, or for, an Institutional Investor (a corporate or other non-retail investor acting for their own account).

By accessing the restricted area I confirm my agreement with‚ and understanding of‚ the following terms of use and the legal provisions. If I do not agree to the terms and legal conditions‚ I must not access this website or any pages thereof. I acknowledge that access to the information contained on this website is available to "Qualified Investors" only as defined below. A private individual or legal representative or any other party without this qualification should not enter this website.

By accessing this website or any of its pages‚ I confirm that I am a qualified investor in accordance with Art 10.3 CISA.

The following are considered to be qualified investors:

  • supervised financial intermediaries such as banks, securities dealers‚ management companies and asset managers of collective investment schemes‚ as well as central banks;
  • supervised insurance companies;
  • public-law bodies and occupational pension institutions with professional treasury;
  • companies with professional treasury.

I understand the information contained in this website is not directed at, nor is it intended for distribution to, or use by, persons in any jurisdiction in which the dissemination of such investment related information is not permitted. I also understand that the information contained in this site is not directed to any party that may be defined as a ‘retail investor’ by the home regulator of the country in which the website is being accessed. I understand that the information or opinions contained herein should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any investment product nor shall any such investment products or services be offered or sold to any person in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation, purchase or sale would be unlawful. Fidelity has expressed its own views and opinions on this website, and these may change and there is no obligation to update them. Nothing in this website should be construed as investment, tax, legal or other advice. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.

I understand the information contained in this website is not directed at, nor is it intended for distribution to, or use by, persons in any jurisdiction in which the dissemination of such investment related information is not permitted. I also understand that the information contained in this site is not directed to any party that may be defined as a ‘retail investor’ by the home regulator of the country in which the website is being accessed. I understand that the information or opinions contained herein should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any investment product nor shall any such investment products or services be offered or sold to any person in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation, purchase or sale would be unlawful. Fidelity has expressed its own views and opinions on this website, and these may change and there is no obligation to update them. Nothing in this website should be construed as investment, tax, legal or other advice. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.

This website has been issued by FIL Fund Management Limited, a Bermuda company licensed to conduct investment business by the Bermuda Monetary Authority. Neither FIL Fund Management Limited, its parent company FIL Limited, nor any of their group companies or affiliates makes or gives any warranty or representation that any information contained on this website is accurate, complete, or fit for any particular purpose.

I acknowledge that neither FIL Fund Management Limited, FIL Limited, nor any of their group companies or affiliates will have any liability for any losses arising directly or indirectly from any information accessed from this website. By accepting this representation I also confirm my agreement to the website Terms and Conditions, which I have read and understood.

Fidelity International, the Fidelity International logo and F symbol are trademarks of FIL Limited, a company existing under the laws of Bermuda.

If the above representation is correct, please click 'I agree' below to continue to the site.

Information importante

Je confirme accéder à ce site Internet afin d’obtenir des informations en qualité d’investisseur institutionnel.

Je comprends que les informations contenues sur ce site Internet sont destinées exclusivement aux investisseurs résidant en France et ne doivent pas être diffusées à quiconque pouvant être considéré comme un investisseur particulier. Je comprends que les informations ou opinions présentées sur ce site ne constituent pas des recommandations d’achat ou de vente. Fidelity a exprimé ses propres vues et opinions sur ce site Internet, et celles-ci peuvent évoluer sans que Fidelity n’assume aucune obligation de les actualiser. Aucun élément de ce site Internet ne doit être interprété comme un avis d’investissement, fiscal ou juridique ou autre. Les informations que comporte ce site peuvent changer sans notification.

Ce site Internet est présenté par FIL Gestion, SGP agréée par l'AMF sous le n°GP03-004, 29 rue de Berri, 75008 Paris. Ni FIL Gestion, ni sa société mère FIL Limited, ni aucune des sociétés ou affiliées du groupe ne garantit ni ne fait aucune déclaration sur l’exactitude, l’exhaustivité ou l’adaptation à une finalité donnée des informations présentées sur ce site Internet.

Je reconnais que ni FIL Gestion, ni FIL Limited, ni aucune des sociétés ou affiliées du groupe n’assume une quelconque responsabilité au titre de toute perte découlant directement ou indirectement de toute information obtenue à partir de ce site Internet.

Ce site présentant des informations en langues française et anglaise, j’accepte de recevoir des informations non exclusivement rédigées en français.

Je confirme également, par l’acceptation de cette déclaration, mon accord sur les conditions et modalités du site Internet que j’ai lues et comprises.

Fidelity, Fidelity International, le logo Fidelity International ainsi que le symbole F sont des marques déposées de FIL Limited.

Si vous accepter les termes de la déclaration ci-dessus, veuillez cliquer sur « j’accepte » ci-dessous pour poursuivre votre navigation sur ce site.

Wichtige Informationen

Hiermit bestätige ich, dass ich diese Website zur Informationsbeschaffung als institutioneller Anleger (ein auf eigene Rechnung handelndes Unternehmen oder ein anderer nicht als Privatanleger geltender Investor) bzw. für einen institutionellen Anleger besuche.

Mit dem Zugriff auf den zugangsbeschränkten Bereich bestätige ich, dass ich die folgenden Nutzungsbedingungen und rechtlichen Klauseln verstanden habe und mit ihnen einverstanden bin. Andernfalls darf ich auf diese Website oder Teile davon nicht zugreifen. Mir ist bewusst, dass der Zugang zu den Informationen auf dieser Website nur für „qualifizierte Anleger“ gemäss untenstehender Definition vorgesehen ist. Eine Privatperson, ein rechtlicher Vertreter oder irgendeine andere Partei ohne diese Qualifikation sollte nicht auf diese Webseite zugreifen.

Mit dem Zugriff auf diese Website oder Teile davon bestätige ich, dass ich ein qualifizierter Investor gemäß Art 10 Absatz 3 des schweizerischen Bundesgesetzes über die kollektiven Kapitalanlagen bin.

Als qualifizierte Anlegerinnen und Anleger im Sinne dieses Gesetzes gelten:

  • beaufsichtigte Finanzintermediäre wie Banken, Effektenhändler, Fondsleitungen und Vermögensverwalter kollektiver Kapitalanlagen sowie Zentralbanken;
  • beaufsichtigte Versicherungseinrichtungen;
  • öffentlich-rechtliche Körperschaften und Vorsorgeeinrichtungen mit professioneller Tresorerie;
  • Unternehmen mit professioneller Tresorerie.

Mir ist bewusst, dass sich die Informationen auf dieser Website nicht an Personen richten bzw. für sie bestimmt sind, in deren Land die Verbreitung solcher anlagebezogenen Informationen nicht erlaubt ist. Mir ist bewusst, dass die hier zu findenden Informationen oder Meinungen nicht als Aufforderung zum Kauf oder Verkauf eines Anlageprodukts zu verstehen sind. Es sollen auch keine solchen Anlageprodukte oder Dienstleistungen Personen angeboten oder verkauft werden, in deren Land ein entsprechendes Angebot, eine Aufforderung, ein Erwerb oder Verkauf ungesetzlich wäre. Fidelity äußert auf dieser Website seine eigenen Ansichten und Meinungen, die sich jederzeit ändern können, ohne dass eine Verpflichtung zur Aktualisierung besteht. Kein Inhalt dieser Website ist als Beratung in Bezug auf Geldanlagen, Steuern, rechtliche oder sonstige Aspekte zu verstehen. Die hierin enthaltenen Informationen können sich ohne entsprechende Mitteilung jederzeit ändern.

Mir ist bewusst, dass sich die Informationen auf dieser Website nicht an Personen richten bzw. für sie bestimmt sind, in deren Land die Verbreitung solcher anlagebezogenen Informationen nicht erlaubt ist. Mir ist ebenfalls bewusst, dass sich die Informationen auf dieser Website nicht an Adressaten richtet, die von der Aufsichtsbehörde in dem Land, von dem aus die Website besucht wird, möglicherweise als „Privatanleger“ klassifiziert werden. Des Weiteren ist mir bewusst, dass die hier zu findenden Informationen oder Meinungen nicht als Aufforderung zum Kauf oder Verkauf eines Anlageprodukts zu verstehen sind. Es sollen auch keine solchen Anlageprodukte oder Dienstleistungen Personen angeboten oder verkauft werden, in deren Land ein entsprechendes Angebot, eine Aufforderung, ein Erwerb oder Verkauf ungesetzlich wäre. Fidelity äußert auf dieser Website seine eigenen Ansichten und Meinungen, die sich jederzeit ändern können, ohne dass eine Verpflichtung zur Aktualisierung besteht. Kein Inhalt dieser Website ist als Beratung in Bezug auf Geldanlagen, Steuern, rechtliche oder sonstige Aspekte zu verstehen. Die hierin enthaltenen Informationen können sich ohne entsprechende Mitteilung jederzeit ändern.

Diese Website wurde von FIL Fund Management Limited eingerichtet, einem Unternehmen mit Sitz auf bzw. nach dem Recht der Bermuda-Inseln, das über eine Genehmigung der Bermuda Monetary Authority zur Ausübung von Investmenttätigkeiten verfügt. Weder FIL Fund Management Limited noch sein Mutterunternehmen FIL Limited oder irgendein anderes Konzernunternehmen oder verbundenes Unternehmen übernimmt die Gewähr dafür oder erklärt, dass die Informationen auf dieser Website zutreffend, vollständig oder für jedwede Zwecke geeignet sind.

Ich erkenne an, dass weder FIL Fund Management Limited noch FIL Limited oder ein anderes Konzernunternehmen bzw. verbundenes Unternehmen für etwaige Verluste haftet, die direkt oder indirekt aus einer auf dieser Website beschafften Information resultieren. Durch Annahme dieser Erklärung bestätige ich auch mein Einverständnis mit den Nutzungs- und Geschäftsbedingungen dieser Website, die ich gelesen und verstanden habe.

Fidelity International, das Fidelity International Logo und das F-Symbol sind Markenzeichen von FIL Limited, einem nach dem Recht der Bermuda-Inseln eingetragenen Unternehmen.

Diese Website präsentiert Informationen in englischer und deutscher Sprache. Als professioneller Anleger akzeptiere ich hiermit, Informationen in mehr als einer Sprache zu erhalten.

Wenn die obige Erklärung zutrifft, klicken Sie bitte auf „Ich stimme zu“, um auf die Website zu gelangen.

Informazioni importanti

Confermo di voler accedere a questo sito web per acquisire informazioni in veste o per conto di un Investitore istituzionale (una società o altro investitore non retail che agisce per proprio conto).

Riconosco che le informazioni contenute in questo sito web non sono dirette né sono destinate alla distribuzione o all’uso da parte di soggetti in qualsiasi giurisdizione in cui la diffusione di tali informazioni relative allinvestimento non è consentita. Riconosco inoltre che le informazioni contenute in questo sito web non sono dirette a soggetti che potrebbero essere definiti "investitori retail" dall'autorità di vigilanza nazionale del paese dal quale si accede al sito stesso. Riconosco che le informazioni o le opinioni contenute in questo sito web non devono essere interpretate come un'offerta di vendita o come la sollecitazione di un'offerta di acquisto di un prodotto o un servizio di investimento, né tali prodotti o servizi di investimento possono essere offerti o venduti a soggetti di giurisdizioni nelle quali tale offerta, sollecitazione, acquisto o vendita sarebbero illegali. Questo sito web contiene giudizi e opinioni espressi da Fidelity, che sono soggetti a modifica e rispetto ai quali non sussiste alcun obbligo di aggiornamento. Nulla di quanto contenuto in questo sito web va considerato come una consulenza di investimento, fiscale, legale o di altra natura. Le informazioni qui riportate sono soggette a modifica senza preavviso.

Questo sito web è pubblicato da FIL Fund Management Limited (una società delle Bermuda autorizzata a svolgere attività d'investimento dalla Bermuda Monetary Authority). Né FIL Fund Management Limited, né la sua società madre FIL Limited, né alcuna delle loro società del gruppo o affiliate fornisce o rilascia alcuna garanzia o dichiarazione che le informazioni contenute in questo sito web siano accurate, complete o adatte a uno scopo particolare.

Riconosco che né FIL Fund Management Limited, né FIL Limited né alcuna delle loro società del gruppo o affiliate si assumono alcuna responsabilità per eventuali perdite derivanti direttamente o indirettamente da informazioni ottenute da questo sito web. Accettando questa dichiarazione confermo anche di aver letto, compreso e accettato i Termini e le condizioni d'uso del sito web.

Fidelity International, il logo Fidelity International e il simbolo F sono marchi di proprietà di FIL Limited, una società costituita nelle Bermuda.

Se la dichiarazione di cui sopra è corretta, cliccare "Accetto" qui sotto per continuare a visitare il sito.

重要な情報

私は、機関投資家(自己勘定取引を行う個人投資家以外の法人その他の投資家)として、あるいはかかる機関投資家のために、当ウェブサイトにアクセスし、情報を取得するものです。

私は、当ウェブサイトに掲載される情報は、かかる投資関連情報の流布が違反となる法域の人物に提供するものではなく、そういった人物によって拡散されたり利用されたりすることを意図したものでもないことを理解しています。また、当サイトに掲載される情報が、ウェブサイトにアクセスする場所の国の規制当局によって「個人投資家」と定義され得る人物に向けたものではなく、当サイトにある情報または意見は、何らかの投資商品の勧誘や募集と解釈すべきではなく、かかる投資商品またはサービスの募集、勧誘、売買が違法となる法域にいる人物に対して募集ないし販売されるものでもないことも理解しています。フィデリティは、当ウェブサイト上に自社の見解や意見を掲載していますが、これらは変わる可能性があり、そういった変更があった場合に当ウェブサイトを更新しなければならないという義務は負っていません。当ウェブサイトの内容はいずれも投資、税務、法務、その他の助言と解釈すべきではなく、ウェブサイト上の情報は通知なく変更される可能性があります。

当ウェブサイトはバミューダ籍の法人でバミューダ金融庁から投資事業免許を取得しているFILファンド・マネジメント・リミテッドが作成しています。FILファンド・マネジメント・リミテッド、その親会社であるFILリミテッド、またはそれらのグループ会社か関連会社のいずれも、当ウェブサイトに掲載される情報が正確であるとか、完全であるとか、特定の目的に適合したものである等の保証や表明は行っておらず、そういった保証や表明を提供することもありません。

FILファンド・マネジメント・リミテッド、FILリミテッド、またはそれらのグループ会社か関連会社のいずれもが、当ウェブサイトから入手した情報によって直接または間接的に発生した損失の責を負うものではないことに了承します。

フィデリティ・インターナショナル、フィデリティ・インターナショナルのロゴおよびFのシンボルはバミューダ法の下で設立された法人であるFILリミテッドの商標です。

以上をご確認いただける場合には、以下の「同意します」ボタンをクリックしてください。

Important information

I confirm that I am accessing this website for the purpose of acquiring information as, or for, an Institutional Investor (a corporate or other non-retail investor acting for their own account).

I understand the information contained in this website is not directed at, nor is it intended for distribution to, or use by, persons in any jurisdiction in which the dissemination of such investment related information is not permitted. I also understand that the information contained in this site is not directed to any party that may be defined as a ‘retail investor’ by the home regulator of the country in which the website is being accessed. I understand that the information or opinions contained herein should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any investment product nor shall any such investment products or services be offered or sold to any person in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation, purchase or sale would be unlawful. Fidelity has expressed its own views and opinions on this website, and these may change and there is no obligation to update them. Nothing in this website should be construed as investment, tax, legal or other advice. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.

This website has been issued by FIL Fund Management Limited, a Bermuda company licensed to conduct investment business by the Bermuda Monetary Authority. Neither FIL Fund Management Limited, its parent company FIL Limited, nor any of their group companies or affiliates makes or gives any warranty or representation that any information contained on this website is accurate, complete, or fit for any particular purpose.

I acknowledge that neither FIL Fund Management Limited, FIL Limited, nor any of their group companies or affiliates will have any liability for any losses arising directly or indirectly from any information accessed from this website. By accepting this representation I also confirm my agreement to the website Terms and Conditions, which I have read and understood.

Please note that FIL Fund Management Limited is not licensed by the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority (“FMA”) and is not subject to the supervision of the FMA.

Fidelity International, the Fidelity International logo and F symbol are trademarks of FIL Limited, a company existing under the laws of Bermuda.

If the above representation is correct, please click 'I agree' below to continue to the site.

Wichtige Informationen

Hiermit bestätige ich, dass ich diese Website zur Informationsbeschaffung als institutioneller Anleger (ein auf eigene Rechnung handelndes Unternehmen oder ein anderer nicht als Privatanleger geltender Investor) bzw. für einen institutionellen Anleger besuche.

Mir ist bewusst, dass sich die Informationen auf dieser Website nicht an Personen richten bzw. für sie bestimmt sind, in deren Land die Verbreitung solcher anlagebezogenen Informationen nicht erlaubt ist. Mir ist ebenfalls bewusst, dass sich die Informationen auf dieser Website nicht an Adressaten richtet, die von der Aufsichtsbehörde in dem Land, von dem aus die Website besucht wird, möglicherweise als „Privatanleger“ klassifiziert werden. Des Weiteren ist mir bewusst, dass die hier zu findenden Informationen oder Meinungen nicht als Aufforderung zum Kauf oder Verkauf eines Anlageprodukts zu verstehen sind. Es sollen auch keine solchen Anlageprodukte oder Dienstleistungen Personen angeboten oder verkauft werden, in deren Land ein entsprechendes Angebot, eine Aufforderung, ein Erwerb oder Verkauf ungesetzlich wäre. Fidelity äußert auf dieser Website seine eigenen Ansichten und Meinungen, die sich jederzeit ändern können, ohne dass eine Verpflichtung zur Aktualisierung besteht. Kein Inhalt dieser Website ist als Beratung in Bezug auf Geldanlagen, Steuern, rechtliche oder sonstige Aspekte zu verstehen. Die hierin enthaltenen Informationen können sich ohne entsprechende Mitteilung jederzeit ändern.

Diese Website wurde von FIL Fund Management Limited eingerichtet, einem Unternehmen mit Sitz auf bzw. nach dem Recht der Bermuda-Inseln, das über eine Genehmigung der Bermuda Monetary Authority zur Ausübung von Investmenttätigkeiten verfügt. Weder FIL Fund Management Limited noch sein Mutterunternehmen FIL Limited oder irgendein anderes Konzernunternehmen oder verbundenes Unternehmen übernimmt die Gewähr dafür oder erklärt, dass die Informationen auf dieser Website zutreffend, vollständig oder für jedwede Zwecke geeignet sind.

Ich erkenne an, dass weder FIL Fund Management Limited noch FIL Limited oder ein anderes Konzernunternehmen bzw. verbundenes Unternehmen für etwaige Verluste haftet, die direkt oder indirekt aus einer auf dieser Website beschafften Information resultieren. Durch Annahme dieser Erklärung bestätige ich auch mein Einverständnis mit den Nutzungs- und Geschäftsbedingungen dieser Website, die ich gelesen und verstanden habe.

Fidelity International, das Fidelity International Logo und das F-Symbol sind Markenzeichen von FIL Limited, einem nach dem Recht der Bermuda-Inseln eingetragenen Unternehmen.

Bitte beachten Sie, dass die FIL Fund Management Limited von der Finanzmarktaufsicht Liechtenstein weder zugelassen noch beaufsichtigt ist.

Diese Website präsentiert Informationen in englischer und deutscher Sprache. Als professioneller Anleger akzeptiere ich hiermit, Informationen in mehr als einer Sprache zu erhalten.

Wenn die obige Erklärung zutrifft, klicken Sie bitte auf „Ich stimme zu“, um auf die Website zu gelangen.

Please scroll down to read through all of the terms.
Merci de bien vouloir faire defiler ce message jusqu’à son terme.
Bitte scrollen Sie nach unten, um alle wichtigen Informationen durchzulesen.
Per favore scorri verso il basso per leggere tutte le condizioni.
スクロールダウンし、全ての注意事項をよくお読み下さい。
Please scroll down to read through all of the terms.
Bitte scrollen Sie nach unten, um alle wichtigen Informationen durchzulesen.
Illustration: Paula Rivas

The next recession: zombie killer

von Martin Dropkin und George Watson

Veröffentlicht am 11 Januar 2019

ZinsenFixed IncomeEquities

Zombies are on the rise. Conditions since the financial crisis have bred legions of inefficient, low-productivity companies that somehow stagger on with little hope of turning things around. They suck up resources that could be better used by others. But to kill them off, it might take something drastic - a recession.

Unprecedented central bank responses to the financial crisis have created a number of market distortions. The era of artificial liquidity has spawned more than a few monsters. Governments and corporates alike have gorged on cheap debt. Among them, zombie companies.

Zombies are firms that show no signs of life but somehow continue to survive. Inefficient, stagnant, with scant hope of salvation, they barely manage to stay afloat. They are unable to repay the principle of their outstanding debt and too weak to invest or grow. In other times they would slip quietly into the ground, consigned to rest in peace. But somehow in this post-QE world they stagger blindly on.

A common definition is firms older than 10 years whose earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) are lower than interest payments on outstanding debt for three or more consecutive years. Banerjee and Hofmann, 2018; The rise of zombie firms: causes and consequences; BIS Quarterly Review, September 2018. confirms that the number of firms that fit this description is on the rise.

What is more, they are surviving for longer. These days, almost 90 per cent of such firms neither cease to operate nor become profitable enough to cover interest payments in the following year.

Simple averages of zombies as a share of all listed non-financial firms in the Worldscope database from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US. Zombies are defined as firms with an interest coverage ratio less than one for three consecutive years and over 10 years old. Source: Banerjee and Hofmann (2018), September 2018.

The problem with zombies

Low-productivity firms take up resources but use them less efficiently than other firms. Every stagnant company occupying a spot on the high street, employing staff, buying advertising and receiving funding reduces availability and raises costs for other market participants.

A higher proportion of lower productivity firms means lower average wages for everyone. While they do provide employment and pay taxes, a higher share of capital sunk in such companies lowers the investment and employment growth of other firms in the same industry. A McGowan et al., 2017; The walking dead? Zombie firms and productivity performance in OECD countries. estimated that investment by non-zombie firms would have been two per cent higher by 2013 had the proportion of zombies remained at 2007 levels.

Labour productivity (gross value-add) per worker in constant 2010 US dollars (density function) of all listed non-financial firms in the Worldscope database from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US. Zombies are defined as firms with an interest coverage ratio less than one for three consecutive years and over 10 years old. Source: Banerjee and Hofmann (2018), September 2018.

The existence of stagnant incumbents is also a barrier to entry for market entrants. New firms must clear a higher productivity threshold to offset the lower market profitability in industries that have a high proportion of such firms. This barrier to entry reduces dynamism at an industry level and increases inefficiency in the economy. Productivity is closely related to wage growth, so fewer active low-productivity firms benefits everyone with a higher average wage level.

Where do zombies come from?

Two reasons are often given as explanation for the rise of stagnant companies: interest rates and the health of banks.

The data show that such firms have been on the rise since the late 1990s. During this time, rates have been on a steady march downward. Lower rates mean less pressure on managers to cut debt, restructure, or shut up shop. It’s cheaper and easier to refinance and roll over existing debt. In addition, yield hungry investors are willing to accept riskier investments to meet their return objectives.

How healthy banks are can also influence the number of such firms. Banks with weak balance sheets, a feature of the period following the financial crisis, are more willing to roll-over non-performing loans rather than write off bad debt.

Source: Refinitiv, Fidelity International, November 2018.

Conditions now could bring a day of reckoning

Rates well below historical averages and quantitative easing over the last 10 years have led to highly liquid monetary conditions. Companies have found demand for bonds strong and tapping credit markets easy. But this has bred complacency.

The number of bonds in the Bloomberg Barclays US Corporate Bond Index has almost doubled since 2010. The proportion of BBB debt in investment grade indices is increasing, at the same time as the leverage of BBB rated companies is increasing.

Source: Fidelity International, October 2018. Leverage defined as debt/EBITDA. Data is Fidelity’s proprietary credit research.

The market value of US BBB-rated debt, the lowest notch still considered investment grade, is now twice that of the entire US high yield market, meaning that any downgrades in the event of economic difficulties may not be easily absorbed and refinancing costs will rise.

Despite the worsening of credit conditions, spreads are still well below their long-term averages.

Source: Bloomberg, Fidelity International, September 2018. ICE BofAML global indices used.

Recessions as zombie slayers

So, what can kill the zombies? There is one school of thought that argues recessions are a natural and constructive part of market economies. Companies need space to innovate. If you regulate too hard then you risk stifling that innovation. But lighter regulation breeds market failures that reduce efficiency. Periodic recessions have the potential to flush the system, trim the deadwood and encourage the creative destruction that can lead to more efficient allocation of resources.

But the financial crisis did not cleanse the system. Central bankers decided the risk of systemic failure was too great and acted accordingly with bailouts and quantitative easing, reducing the potency of the recession to reallocate capital more efficiently. And the unprecedented liquidity provisions put in place then lasted longer anyone predicted at the time, providing a fertile breeding ground for more firms with low productivity to survive in the time since.

The next recession

The current economic cycle is already one of the longest on record. Predicting when it will end is difficult. While we can say with a high degree of certainty that there will be a recession of some description within the next ten years, how central banks will react to it is very much unknown. In the US and many emerging markets there is at least some space to cut rates but not so in Europe and Japan. With the political order changing in Germany, appetite to bankroll monetary stimulus may be reduced in future. The course of populist politics could therefore be a deciding factor for firms just managing to stay afloat in today’s climate of easy credit.

However, expectations around what is normal in a recession have changed in the last 10 years. Greater leverage now means a return to what used to be thought of as unconventional monetary policy may be required again. And the increasing prevalence of firms struggling to meet their interest payments even at current interest rates might create a vicious circle that encourages central bankers to flood the financial system with liquidity in the event of a downturn which in turn breeds more of such firms.

On the other hand, banks are in a stronger position now than before the financial crisis. This should reduce the amount of non-performing loans that are extended and hence force more struggling companies to reduce debt or declare bankruptcy in the event of a downturn.

How to avoid zombies

Not all companies with low interest coverage ratios are zombies and not all low-productivity companies stay that way indefinitely. Indeed, using our definition - a firm older than 10 years with an interest coverage ratio of less than one, for three or more consecutive years - then Tesla would qualify. It’s not a name that many would associate with stagnant inefficiency. Identifying the firms to avoid is not always easy. So how can investors reduce their exposure to unwanted risks?

We recommend a thorough examination of reset rates. Rates have risen from historic lows in the last 12 months and refinancing costs are expected to rise in years to come. A company may have enough free cash flow to pay interest costs today, but may struggle if they need to refinance at a higher rate next year. And of course, free cash flow might evaporate in the event of a downturn. Working out when and at what price refinancing will take place gives an idea of how much cash flow is needed now to provide an appropriate cushion. Look for firms with strong fundamentals and a commitment to support their balance sheets.

One thing fixed income investors need to be careful of in this environment is single issuers. There have recently been a number of companies taking advantage of current monetary conditions to raise cash through debt markets for the first and, most likely, last time. Among members of the Bloomberg Barclays US Corporate Index, 38 per cent of companies now only have one or two bonds outstanding.

Such debt is often locked away after release and very minimally traded. As long as economic conditions remain supportive, this scenario should be fine. However, bond investors prefer corporate issuance plans with a range of maturities so they can calculate a yield curve and accurately price bonds. Holders of the debt of single issuers with low interest coverage ratios could find buyers in short supply if market liquidity dries up in the event of a downturn.

Staying alive

We don’t know when it will come, but the next 10 years will almost certainly see a recession of some description. Recessions cause hardship for many, but the unique conditions since 2008 could make the long-term consequences of the next one particularly positive for productivity and wages.

But for now, the zombies walk among us. Years of cheap debt has seen to that. We believe the market is not paying enough attention to the amount of debt coming to maturity in the next few years that will need refinancing at a higher rate. Even reasonable interest coverage ratios today might not be enough in a few years’ time. And when the downturn does come, these stagnant, low-productivity companies will be the hardest hit. You have been warned.

Worauf sollten wir als Nächstes eingehen?

Schicken Sie Ihre Vorschläge per E-Mail aneditorial@fil.com

The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

These materials are provided for information purposes only and are intended only for the person or entity to which it is sent.

These materials do not constitute a distribution, an offer or solicitation to engage the investment management services of Fidelity, or an offer to buy or sell or the solicitation of any offer to buy or sell any securities or investment product.

Fidelity makes no representations that the contents are appropriate for use in all locations or that the transactions or services discussed are available or appropriate for sale or use in all jurisdictions or countries or by all investors or counterparties.

Investors should also note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon by Fidelity. They are valid only as of the date indicated and are subject to change without notice.

This material was created by Fidelity International. It must not be reproduced or circulated to any other party without prior permission of Fidelity.

This communication is not directed at, and must not be acted on by persons inside the United States and is otherwise only directed at persons residing in jurisdictions where the relevant funds are authorised for distribution or where no such authorisation is required. Fidelity is not authorised to manage or distribute investment funds or products in, or to provide investment management or advisory services to persons resident in, mainland China. All persons and entities accessing the information do so on their own initiative and are responsible for compliance with applicable local laws and regulations and should consult their professional advisers.

This content may contain materials from third-parties which are supplied by companies that are not affiliated with any Fidelity entity (Third-Party Content). Fidelity has not been involved in the preparation, adoption or editing of such third-party materials and does not explicitly or implicitly endorse or approve such content.

Fidelity International refers to the group of companies which form the global investment management organisation that provides products and services in designated jurisdictions outside of North America Fidelity, Fidelity International, the Fidelity International logo and F symbol are trademarks of FIL Limited. Fidelity only offers information on products and services and does not provide investment advice personal recommendations based on individual circumstances.

Issued in Europe: Issued by FIL Investments International (FCA registered number 122170) a firm authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, FIL (Luxembourg) S.A., authorised and supervised by the CSSF (Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier) and FIL Investment Switzerland AG, authorised and supervised by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA. For German wholesale clients issued by FIL Investment Services GmbH, Kastanienhöhe 1, 61476 Kronberg im Taunus. For German institutional clients issued by FIL Investments International – Niederlassung Frankfurt.

In Hong Kong, this content is issued by FIL Investment Management (Hong Kong) Limited and it has not been reviewed by the Securities and Future Commission. FIL Investment Management (Singapore) Limited (Co. Reg. No: 199006300E) is the legal representative of Fidelity International in Singapore. FIL Asset Management (Korea) Limited is the legal representative of Fidelity International in Korea. In Taiwan, independently operated by FIL Securities (Taiwan ) Limited, 11F, 68 Zhongxiao East Road, Section 5, Xinyi Dist., Taipei City, Taiwan 11065, R.O.C. Customer Service Number: 0800-00-9911#2.

Issued in Australia by Fidelity Responsible Entity (Australia) Limited ABN 33 148 059 009, AFSL No. 409340 (“Fidelity Australia”). This material has not been prepared specifically for Australian investors and may contain information which is not prepared in accordance with Australian law.

IC18-255