French Coface says world growth to slow down in 2011

20:58, January 17, 2011      

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French leading credit insurer Coface estimated on Monday that the world economy would slow growth to 3.4 percent in 2011 from 4 percent in 2010 with emerging economies still leading the growth while joint pressure of private debt, austerity fiscal policy and raw materials prices weighs on development.

The subsidiary of the Natixis Bank made the statement at its 15th Country Risk Conference.

The advanced countries would show growth of 1.8 percent compared to 2.3 percent in 2010, with the euro zone to decelerate by 1.4 percent, lower from 1.7 percent in 2010, while the emerging countries will "continue the solid growth trajectory in 2011" with 6.2 percent increase, compared to 6.7 percent in 2010, the statement said.

Risk for the euro zone, grouping a number of advanced countries, is mainly on private debt bubble which resulted in sovereign crises, but the emerging countries, according to Coface, are also facing a surge in indebtedness in the private sector, which could risk growth financing though not serious enough now given the weight of private sectors.

"The convergence between the risks in advanced countries and emerging countries is getting stronger," said Coface, the third largest global credit insurer, stressing "it's time of converging risk" between the advanced and the emerging.

"The euro zone has demonstrated that it is possible to be in a crisis with very high external debt but in 'local currency'," breaking the stereotype of risk only linked to the foreign currency component of the debt in emerging countries, explains Francois David, Chairman of Coface.

As for evaluating country risks, Coface said it observed improvement in terms of country ratings for the year 2010. In 2010, it set the lowest rating in the advanced countries at A4, now 27 emerging countries including Turkey, Brazil, India and Poland have ratings greater than or equal to A4, better than Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Coface ranks as one world leader of credit insurance for export with 25 percent market share. Besides offering credit insurance, factoring and receivables management to global clients, it is also rating 156 countries, of which 28 are advanced countries.

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