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European Corporate Credit Outlook Midyear 2021: Back The Way We Came

The credit outlook is rapidly improving, thanks to powerful policy stimulus, successful vaccine rollouts, rebounding profits, and a deluge of liquidity. Corporate confidence and a focus on growth means a continuing focus on M&A and a boom in European capex. Credit quality remains depleted by the fallout from COVID-19, with leverage still high, vulnerable capital structures, and liquidity pressures in sectors most disrupted by the pandemic. Credit metric recovery will be slow and not without risk. Financial market exuberance is a concern with real corporate bond yields at record lows and late-cycle behavior apparent in leveraged finance. But with limited signs of inflation pressures altering the policy calculus, central bank support remains potent and pivotal.

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