Since the start of the recovery in 2009, D&B has downgraded the debt rating of 56 countries based on its comprehensive variables, with 32 in 2012 alone "” the second-highest in its research history -- reflecting the instability and fragility of the global economy despite improvements in the business sector.
"Recovering from the Great Recession of 2008 continues to challenge global economies," said Paul Ballew, chief economist at D&B. "Against that backdrop, the speeds at which companies are shifting business operations, as they continue to restructure, create more efficiency and adaptability to better anticipate future economic conditions. In fact, according to our statistics, business financial health today tops pre-recession levels. Unfortunately these business gains are inhibited by social and political pressures at home and abroad, underscoring the interdependency of today's global economy."
2012 D&B Global Economic Outlook Year-end Report Highlights
"¢ Significant challenges to global growth remain.
A unique set of challenges face businesses heading into 2013. The Euro Zone crisis dominated the headlines in 2012 as policy makers attempted to save the Euro Zone from break-up and structural issues in the developing economies emerged as a potential restraint on growth in the medium term. Unfortunately, most of these issues remain unresolved heading into 2013.
"¢ U.S. economy continues to recover slowly.
The U.S. economy has staggered toward recovery throughout 2012, boosted by its strengthening corporate sector, but undermined by public sector debt. The corporate sector is in stronger financial health than in recent years and the housing market has hit bottom, with housing prices recovering slowly from their trough and jobs being created. D&B's analysis in early 2012 was among the first to predict housing market recovery.
"¢ Macroeconomic conditions in Europe continue to cause concern.
Domestic austerity measures, rising unemployment rates and slowing external demand for goods and services had a negative impact on growth in 2012. The outlook for 2013 remains uncertain with substantial risks for most European markets.
"¢ Only seven countries upgraded based on D&B debt ratings in 2012.
The overriding problems of the debt crisis in Europe resulted in that region being the worst performing in terms of downgrades, with half the countries experiencing at least one downgrade in 2012.
"¢ Global growth continues to decrease.
The exposure of China to reduced demand from Europe has created downward pressure on many emerging markets. Coupled with domestic economic challenges, a number of emerging markets underperformed expectations and this has resulted in a ripple effect in many commodity-rich countries.
"While significant concerns remain across every global economic region, 2012 proved to be a year in which businesses continued to adapt to the realities of a sluggish and prolonged recovery," said Ballew. "This should serve them well as they navigate the challenges and risks associated with 2013 and beyond."
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