Belgian corporate sector liquidity and solvency in the coronavirus crisis: a post-first-wave assessment
The COVID-19 crisis has taken its toll on the Belgian corporate sector. A sudden drop in revenues and imperfect downscaling of costs has put considerable pressure on firms’ cash buffers. In this article, we document the pockets of corporate liquidity and solvency risk and examine the role of various policy measures taken to keep businesses afloat. We show that the support measures taken have successfully dampened cash outflows of firms. Despite these interventions, approximately one out of six non-financial firms are estimated to remain with pressing cash deficits attributable to the pandemic prior to the start of the second wave. Our analysis documents a non-trivial rise in solvency risk. Losses caused by the COVID-19 crisis have severely eroded many firms’ equity in the most affected sectors and replenishing their cash reserves would involve a substantial rise in their indebtedness in the absence of alternative financing sources.