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The business insolvency paradox in Europe: miracle and mirage

The true impact of the Covid-19 crisis will remain unclear until companies release their financial reports. A Coface report estimates the size of hidden insolvencies to be around 44% of 2019 insolvencies for France (22,500), 39% for Italy (4,100), 34% for Spain (1,600), and 21% for Germany (3,950). Without state intervention, insolvencies would be higher by an order of magnitude. In this sense, governments’ success in saving firms is a small miracle of economic policy. But the 2020 insolvency figures are, to a large extent, a mirage.

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