Perhaps inspired by our recent articles showing that "Loan Defaults Hit 6 Years High" and "Bankruptcy Tsunami Begins: Thousands Of Default Notices Are "Flying Out The Door", Goldman writes this morning that with businesses shuttered and job losses mounting rapidly, "there is growing concern over the ability of borrowers to service their debt obligations and the resulting risks to financial stability."
In response, Goldman "assesses the likely scale of economy-wide credit losses, the exposure of creditors to those losses, and the potential risks to financial stability and the banking sector" to conclude that "rising bankruptcies and delinquencies suggest the default cycle has started."
How did Goldman get to that assessment?
Looking at corporate credit, the bank first looked at corporate debt, noting that nonfinancial corporate debt grew by over 60% since 2011 and recently rose to an all-time high as a share of GDP (Exhibit 1, left), leading to growing concern even prior to the virus that corporate defaults could rise dramatically in the next downturn. Meanwhile, the sharp decline in revenues across many industries has left a large share of companies with negative cash flow, and rising bankruptcy filings and cases suggest the corporate default cycle has started.
Unlike the financial crisis, the bank finds that a unique feature of this downturn "is the wide variation in industry exposure to the virus, with physical constraints on spending, occupational health risks, and geographical variation in the virus outbreak affecting industries differently."