Credit trends in 2011 appear to be on the upswing for incorporated U.S. businesses. The jury remains very much out for consumers/individuals, which could have a decided impact on the smallest U.S. businesses, as personal bankruptcies neared a record high.
A Fitch Ratings study unveiled this week predicted a continuation of modest economic growth for U.S. corporations and ongoing improvements to credit availability. Fitch noted there is a continuing “abundance of caution due to global macroeconomic imbalances that favor conservatism,” but believes companies’ improved cash/capital standings will greatly help them garner more of the credit they need in 2011.
“Cash generation will continue to provide companies with more flexibility in pursuing growth,” said a Fitch statement. “Fitch expects that corporate downgrades will occur primarily from self-inflicted, [overly] shareholder-friendly actions.” The biggest risk factor in the area of corporate credit, other than current economic woes, is ongoing and significant changes on the part of U.S. regulators and lawmakers, said Fitch. However, many believe the Congressional shift in favor of Republicans could be a help for business in general, though it remains to be seen what the GOP-influenced agenda truly will look like.