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In This List

How Tax Reform Will Grow Our Economy and Create Jobs: a Testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives

Podcast

These ESG Trends will Shape 2019, Sustainability Experts Say

S&P Global Ratings

COP24 Special Edition Shining A Light On Climate Finance

S&P Global Ratings

S&P Global Ratings' Global Outlook 2019

S&P Global Platts

Energy: What to Watch in 2019


How Tax Reform Will Grow Our Economy and Create Jobs: a Testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives

The following is a testimony given by Douglas L. Peterson, President and CEO of S&P Global, at the Committee on Ways and Means, the chief tax-writing committee of the United States House of Representatives, on Thursday, May 18, 2017.


Chairman Brady and Ranking Member Neal, thank you for inviting me to speak today. And thank you to the entire Committee for your efforts to modernize the U.S. tax code.

I am grateful for the opportunity to share my perspective on how tax reform is essential for U.S. companies to better compete in the global marketplace.

S&P Global is the Worldwide Provider of Essential Intelligence

S&P Global is a leading provider of ratings, benchmarks, analytics and data to the capital and commodities markets worldwide.

S&P Global’s insights and commitment to transparency, integrity, and superior analytics have been at the forefront of U.S. economic growth since the company’s founding over 150 years ago. Beginning with the expansion of our nation’s railroad system, to the rise of the world’s most liquid and resilient capital markets, to the growth of digital information and technology, S&P Global’s essential intelligence has remained independent and has guided important decisions throughout U.S. history.

Two of our flagship products, the S&P 500® and the Dow Jones Industrial Average®, are widely accepted as the leading measures of U.S. equity market performance. Our research, products, and insights offer American investors, their families, coworkers, and friends the critical information needed to make informed financial decisions.

In addition to employing thousands of Americans across our great country, we work extensively with businesses of all sizes to help them invest and grow, as well as state and local governments, to help facilitate investment in schools, roads, bridges, and other public works. There is bipartisan agreement about the challenges facing our country’s aging infrastructure, and we hope to continue to bring our data, in-depth analytics, and unique ideas to the table to work with Congress to address those issues.

U.S. Tax System is Uncompetitive Globally

Currently, the U.S. has the highest statutory corporate tax rate among the 35 countries in the OECD. Importantly, other countries are attempting to lure our businesses—and their tax revenues—abroad. A recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis demonstrates not only the high statutory corporate rate in the U.S., but also the changes that have been made to tax rates in other G20 countries while the U.S. has stayed static. This study, which encompasses the 2003-2012 timeframe, shows how almost every country around the world has been incentivizing corporate investment through lower taxes. For example, during this timeframe, Canada dropped from 36 to 26% and China from 33 to 25%. The United Kingdom will have a 17% corporate tax rate by 2020.

Chart+-+Top+Statutory+Corporate+Income+Tax+Rates+in+G20+Countries%2C+2003+and+2012

Source: CBO International Comparisons of Corporate Income Tax Rates, March 2017

According to our research, the other countries where our competitors domicile their business and intellectual property have significantly lower corporate tax rates compared to the U.S., as seen in the chart below.

Figure 2

  United States Ireland U.K. Singapore
Corporate Tax Rate 35% 12.5% 19% (17% in 2020) 17%
Local Income Taxes Yes No No No
VAT/GST Sales/Use Taxes 23% 20% 7%

S&P Global’s Tax Rate is Twice That of its International Competitors

S&P Global is a U.S.-headquartered company, but, like so many others, we compete at the international level. While we have grown significantly since our beginnings, we have maintained ownership of most of our intellectual property in the U.S. We therefore have a much higher effective tax rate than our international competitors do. In fact, throughout our history, we have consistently paid an effective rate of over 30%, while many of our competitors pay in the low teens. As an example, we paid an effective tax rate of 30.1% in 2016 and $683 million in taxes. Because our greatest asset is our people, not machines or real estate, we are unable to avail ourselves of deductions and write-offs in a tax code that was written for a different time and a very different economy.

Table+%28S%26P+Global+Reported+Effective+Tax+Rate%29%2C+and+Chart+%28SPGI+Taxes+Paid%2C+2016%29

In 2016, even though 60% of our revenues were domestic, our U.S. tax base was 70% of our income because of our U.S.-based intellectual property. Over the last five years, S&P Global has paid $1.8 billion in taxes in the U.S.

Charts+-+Domestic+vs+Foreign+Source+Revenues%2C+and+Domestic+vs+Foreign+Mix+of+Income

At this unique moment in time, our country has the opportunity to put aside political differences and enact tax reform that not only brings the tax code into the 21st Century, but also ensures that America remains the best place in the world to do business.

It is Time to Level the Playing Field

The U.S. federal tax code was last updated over 30 years ago, in 1986. Its structure, however, is rooted in the post-World War II era. We have a markedly different economy today. For example, who could have foreseen the ubiquitous nature of technology in the way we conduct business today? Intellectual property is more important than ever to our global economy. And the pace of technological change is only accelerating.

Figure 7
Evolution of U.S. Economic Activity

U.S. GDP (Value Added by Industry)      
  1950 1986 2016
Private Service-providing 47.9% 60.0% 69.2%
Manufacturing 26.8% 18.1% 11.7%
Other 12.0% 14.3% 12.9%
Agriculture & Related 6.6% 1.6% 0.9%
Construction 4.3% 4.3% 4.2%
Energy 2.6% 1.5% 1.4%

Note: Figures may not add to 100% due to rounding

Chart+-+U.S.+GDP+-+Value+Added+by+Industry

Figure 9
Evolution of U.S. Employment

U.S. Labor Force (% of total)      
  1950 1986 2016
Private Service-providing 41.6% 57.8% 69.7%
Manufacturing 26.7% 17.1% 8.4%
Other 11.6% 16.4% 15.1%
Agriculture & Related 13.6% 3.0% 1.6%
Construction 4.5% 4.8% 4.5%
Energy 1.7% 0.8% 0.4%

Note: Figures may not add to 100% due to rounding

Chart+-+U.S.+Labor+Force+-+Percentage+of+Total

We must make adjustments that reflect the growth and development of our dynamic economy in order to keep up with the quickly evolving competitive global market. Three primary elements are critical to help ensure that U.S. companies can better compete in the global marketplace. These include:

Lower Rates

A lower corporate income tax rate must be part of any tax reform plan. Our country’s high statutory rate hinders the ability of U.S. companies to successfully compete on the global stage. A lower tax rate would not only help curb the exit of U.S. companies from our great country but would also create a powerful incentive for others to move here.

Competitive International Tax System

A tax reform effort must also result in a level playing field for American companies. Currently, foreign companies established in a country with a territorial tax system that sell goods in the U.S. pay little-to-no corporate tax when the profits return to the home country. In contrast, U.S. businesses that sell goods and services to foreign customers are taxed when their profits are returned to be reinvested in the U.S. This discourages reinvestment of profits generated abroad into the United States, a dynamic that simply doesn’t exist for the international competitors of U.S. companies.

This unfair playing field is tilted further against U.S. companies by border-adjusted taxes such as Value Added Taxes (VAT) that have been enacted in more than 130 countries around the world. Foreign companies can sell goods and services from a VAT country into the U.S. without paying VAT in the source country and without any border-adjusted tax upon import to the U.S. In contrast, goods and services produced in the U.S. and sold into a VAT country bear a tax upon importation at rates that can reach 20%.

This does not benefit American businesses, the communities in which they operate, their employees, or their families.

Modernized Tax Code for America’s Evolved Economy

Since the tax code was last reformed, the American economy has changed dramatically in terms of the products it makes, the markets it sells into, and the skills it requires. The emergence of technology, the growth of intellectual property, and the globalization of markets are all new features of our economy.

The tax code, though, has not evolved with the economy. The result is a highly unfair system that undermines competitiveness. The tax inequities that now exist between companies, and the inequities that advantage foreign competitors over their American counterparts can be traced to an antiquated code.

It’s time for a fresh start to American tax policy—one that levels the playing field for all American firms—and ensures that no firm (“old” economy or “new” economy, manufacturing or service) is disadvantaged when competing.

Restoring Growth and Competitiveness to the U.S. Economy

In a recent survey by the Business Roundtable, 71% of CEOs who responded identified tax reform as the best way to accelerate U.S. economic growth. This overwhelming response demonstrates the potential and the importance of reforming our tax code.

Chart+-+CEOs+-+Tax+Reform+is+the+Best+Way+to+Accelerate+Growth

The U.S. remains a “tax outlier.” Our tax system is antiquated, unfair, and hinders our ability to compete on a global scale. It is time for a change. The current system is stifling our economic growth. We are losing ground at a time when we should be leading. It is incumbent on us to seize this moment and enact substantial changes that will eliminate concerns for businesses about growing, investing and innovating in the U.S.

I hope this Congress will seize this moment.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide this statement at such an important time. I welcome any questions you might have.


Listen: These ESG Trends will Shape 2019, Sustainability Experts Say

Progress on corporate disclosures. A looming talent shortage. Climate change mitigation. These are among the top trends that sustainability experts predict will shape the ESG landscape in 2019. In the inaugural episode of ESG Insider, a new podcast from S&P Global, co-hosts Esther Whieldon and Lindsey White speak to several ESG leaders about the key themes they are watching this year, including Rakhi Kumar, State Street Global Advisors’ head of ESG investments and asset stewardship, Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of Ceres, and Libby Bernick, Trucost managing director and global head of corporate business.

"ESG investing is no longer a sideshow," State Street Global Advisors Inc.'s Rakhi Kumar said in the inaugural episode of ESG Insider, which will focus on environmental, social and governance issues.

Kumar, SSGA's head of ESG investments and asset stewardship, also highlighted the importance of leadership teams setting goals around issues like diversity to achieve progress toward building more sustainable businesses in the long term.

Some other takeaways:

Why companies are starting to pay more attention to the physical risks of climate change

Amid an increase in extreme weather events such as hurricanes, droughts and heat waves, companies are beginning to take a closer look at how climate change could threaten their operations and even their bottom line, said Libby Bernick, Trucost managing director and global head of corporate business.

"It's not just 'what's my company's impact on climate,' it's 'what's climate's impact on my company,'" Bernick said.

Trucost is a research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence that assesses business risks related to climate change and other ESG factors.

Companies are responding to investor pressure to tackle sustainability issues

Investor pressure has already prompted a number of companies to step up their environmental efforts, particularly those tied to climate change and water shortages, according to Ceres President and CEO Mindy Lubber. Ceres is an organization that helps coordinate sustainability discussions between major companies and shareholders.

Lubber expects the momentum will continue in 2019 with companies beginning to tackle climate-related issues in a "more concentrated, focused, systemic way."

To read more of S&P Global's coverage of sustainability issues, you can subscribe here to receive our weekly ESG Insider newsletter.

This article was published by S&P Global Market Intelligence and not by S&P Global Ratings, which is a separately managed division of S&P Global.



COP24 Special Edition Shining A Light On Climate Finance

Highlights

− Green loans are evolving, with the Climate Bond Initiative forecasting nearly $1 trillion in green bond issuance by 2020.

− Despite the uptick in green bond and loan issuance, the market still remains relatively small, especially compared to the universe of assets comprising CLO 2.0 transactions.

− In our view, a green CLO market has large growth potential, boosted by regulatory initiatives and emerging interest from both issuers and investors in 2018.

− We built a hypothetical rating scenario for a green CLO to compare and contrast the underlying portfolio and structure with a typical European CLO 2.0 transaction.

− Our hypothetical green CLO analysis showed that green loans may have different fundamental characteristics to corporate loans, such as lower asset yields, higher credit quality, and higher recovery rates assumptions.

The global collateralized loan obligation (CLO) market has experienced a rebirth (2010 in the U.S. and 2013 in Europe). New issuance continues to increase due to investor familiarity with the product, as well as low historical default rates. While a market for green assets, such as green loans and bonds has been established for a while, although still of a relative size, a sustainable securitization market is still in its infancy. Considering the challenge in financing the amounts, S&P Global Ratings expects green CLOs to play a role in increasing the private sector presence in the sustainable finance market.

Following the Paris Agreement that came into force in November 2016, 184 parties have ratified the action plan to limit global warming. For this purpose, developed nations have pledged to provide $100 billion (about €87 billion) annually until 2025. As part of this deal the EU has committed to decrease carbon emissions by 40% by 2030. In March 2018 the European Commission (EC) proposed the creation of environmental, social, and corporate governance 'taxonomy', regulating sustainable finance product disclosures, as well as introducing the 'green supporting factor' in the EU prudential rules for banks and insurance companies.

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S&P Global Ratings' Global Outlook 2019

 A deep dive into S&P Global Ratings’ insights on the credit outlook for 2019 and what are the risks and vulnerabilities to look out for.

Access all the Global Outlook
Read More


Energy: What to Watch in 2019

Highlights

S&P Global Platts Analytics Issues Two Special Reports

Pricing across the global energy markets will face headwinds in 2019, with a weaker and more uncertain macroeconomic framework deflating price formation in general, according to two special reports just issued by S&P Global Platts Analytics. Such headwinds will require the industry and portfolio managers to take a big-picture approach.

See the Executive Summary of the S&P Global Platts Analytics special report 2018 Review and 2019 here. Access the full S&P Global Platts Analytics Top Factors to Look Out For in 2019 for Energy here.

"One of the key lessons learned in 2018, painfully by some, is that market sentiment can shift violently without much change in fundamentals, requiring a steady, holistic perspective," said Chris Midgley, global head of analytics, S&P Global Platts. "It is clear that this volatility will remain a feature across the energy markets in 2019, particularly as IMO 2020 nears."

Particularly blustery headwinds are in store for markets where prices finished 2018 at elevated levels, and well above costs, such as North American natural gas and global coal. However, if the supply side can adjust to the reality of slowing demand growth, energy prices can find support. For natural gas liquids (NGLs), the ongoing logistical constraints at the US Gulf Coast are likely to manifest on continued price volatility, particularly for ethane and liquid petroleum gas (LPG), over the next year despite strong global demand.

LPG, such as propane and butane and used in transportation fuel, refrigeration, heating and cooking, is rapidly facing US export capacity constraints, especially along the US Gulf Coast. For LPG feedstock propylene, there is clear potential for high volatility globally over the next 12-18 months.

Analysts at S&P Global Platts see weakening prices of Henry Hub natural gas. The slowdown in US demand growth will exceed that of supply. But if winter temperatures prove to be colder than normal, near-term prices will need to move higher to bring on enough supply to replenish depleted storage levels.

For global liquefied natural gas (LNG), it will be end-user-backed LNG demand that faces particular struggle to cope with the speed and force of new supply entering the market in 2019. Non price-responsive demand in Asia will be easily met and JKM spot physical prices (reflecting LNG as delivered into Japan, Korea and China) will sag next year.

Access the full S&P Global Platts Analytics Top Factors to Look Out For in 2019 for Energy here. Among the 22 key take-away themes:

  • NGL supply growth will strain the North American energy system
  • Saudi Arabia will need to be nimble to balance 2019 oil supply
  • US oil supply limited by pipelines
  • Oil demand slowing: trade war, industrial slump
  • 2019 LNG supply additions largest since the Qatari mega-trains
  • US gas supply growth to exceed demand growth even with LNG exports
  • Global solar growth slowing
  • Shipping disruption looming - IMO 2020
  • New Russian gas pipeline advantage over Ukraine
  • US coal demand to decline again in 2019
  • Growth in new refineries and complex capacity likely to weigh on refinery margins especially in Asia

Year 2019 will certainly be one of transition for crude and refined oil products as it will lead into 2020 when roughly three million barrels per day of high-sulfur fuel oil must be “destroyed” (including enhanced usage of HSFO in power generation) due to the International Marine Organization (IMO) mandate of eco-friendly shipping fuels in use at sea. A similar amount of middle distillate/low sulfur fuel must be created (by refinery changes and by running more crude oil. The increase in refinery capacity between now and 2020 is large, but mostly needed to cover normal demand growth. Expect prices of light sweet crudes to be bid up in 4Q19.