Companies: delinquencies soared before the pandemic

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Although they avoid exposing it publicly, the main argument used by banks, especially private ones, to look closely at the SMEs that manage loans at subsidized rates, is the uncertainty about the solvency and ability to pay that companies will have. future.

On the other side of the counter, the companies, which carry the burden of a long recession, are burdened by the harsh economic effects of the quarantine and ask for help stripped of bureaucracy and at zero rate.

In between, an indicator that sets off alarms in the financial sector is the evolution of the irregular loan portfolio, that is, the percentage of the total borrowed that is in default and at risk of not being able to be collected.

In February, before the pandemic and the start of quarantine, that thermometer had already begun to show worrying values ​​due to the impact of the recession and the financial drowning of many companies.

The double

The Central Bank report, with the average of all entities, indicates that in the second month of the year, the ratio The irregularity of loans to companies was 8.1 percent.

That means it doubled compared to a year ago, when it was 3.5 percent, and needless to say, the pre-recession delinquency level, which was only around one percent.

With this panorama in the anteroom, banks believe that with the economic impact of the stop due to the obligatory isolation, the irregular portfolio will continue to increase and raises a horizon of doubts about the recovery capacity and the time that this will take.

In fact, private consultancies anticipate that the gross domestic product (GDP) will suffer a collapse in the second quarter (April to June) that could become historic.

Indebtedness. With more than two years of recession, the delinquency of families and companies has grown. (Pedro Castillo / File)

If all the financing to the private sector (companies and families) is taken, the delinquency in February climbed to 6.1 percent, also with a marked growth, since a year ago that indicator was 3.8 percent.

But all this increase is explained by the financial weakness of the companies, since among families, the default was 4.3 percent, that is, the same level a year ago, although several points above the average prior to the recession, which did not exceed three percent.



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