2013년 4월 13일 토요일

[자료] corporate holding of cash on the rise (while their investment weak)

자료 1: [excerpts] Show Us the Money (The Economist, July 1st 2010)


IF THE private sector continues to save hard even as governments try to borrow less, the risks of a double-dip recession rise. A long period of high household saving seems assured in rich countries whose consumers lived off credit and have heavy debt burdens to show for it. But much of the recent increase in private-sector savings comes not from consumers but from businesses. Profits have been more than enough to cover corporate spending in many parts of the rich world, leaving an excess of funds for firms to squirrel away. A lot depends on whether this continues.

If cautious firms pile up more savings, the prospects for recovery are poor. Economies will be stuck in the current—and odd—configuration where corporate surpluses fund government deficits. If firms loosen their purse-strings to hire workers and to invest, that will allow governments to scale back their borrowing.

The degree of corporate saving varies from country to country. British businesses are among the biggest savers. Last year they produced a net financial surplus of 8% of GDP—most of it by non-bank firms (see chart 1). That surplus went a long way to offsetting the government's 11% deficit; a 1% current-account deficit and a 2% household-sector surplus did the rest.

Firms in America have been saving, too, even if they have not been quite as thrifty as British ones. The Federal Reserve's measure of the “financing gap”, the shortfall of corporate income relative to spending, was minus 0.8% of GDP (ie, a surplus) last year, though the gap closed in the first quarter of 2010. The surplus is bigger if the retained earnings of foreign subsidiaries are included, as they are in European measures.

The corporate-saving rate has also increased sharply in the euro zone: a deficit of 4% of GDP in 2008 had all but gone by 2009 (see chart 2). That change came largely from big cuts in spending by firms in France and Spain. German firms have been running cash surpluses since 2004, when profits began to rise as a share of national income as real wages stagnated.

On the face of it firms are in a position to spend more and aid the recovery. After all, businesses are supposed to be repositories for saving, not a source of it. Optimists point to the record $1.6 trillion that American firms have on deposit, in money-market funds, and in bonds and bills. With interest rates so low, this cash might be put to work more profitably. Firms may well have cut their spending too much in the rush to conserve cash during the darkest period of the crisis. Consumer spending has turned out to be stronger than had been feared, says David Bowers of Absolute Strategy Research. “Capital spending, inventories and jobs are too low given the level of consumption,” he argues. ( ... ... )



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