Treasury and Payments
Working Capital 2022 Report Highlights Post-Pandemic Recovery
Following the pandemic, working capital improved in 2021, and companies deployed more capital and generated revenue more quickly. The pandemic also accelerated working capital trends around ESG, supply chain diversification, and tech-driven or direct-to-consumer models.
In the last year, treasury management recovered in ways that revealed themes across the entire economy, but the road to permanent recovery might be long. J.P. Morgan’s annual Working Capital Index Report indicates that working capital has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. However, geopolitical uncertainties, COVID-19 developments, and economic factors could impact the index moving forward. Read on for key trends like ESG and other main takeaways from the 2022 Working Capital Index.
Many companies recovered in 2021
The Working Capital Index returned to pre-pandemic levels after significantly improving from the prior year. Roughly two-thirds of companies also improved Cash Conversion Cycle, which is how many days it takes for them to convert their inventory into cash flows and helps to quantify working capital efficiency. The pharmaceuticals, apparel & accessories, and automotive industries showed the greatest CCC improvement, while aerospace and defense, technology software, and media industries showed deterioration in CCC performance. The Cash Index also improved as S&P 1500 companies increased their spending of cash following a period of holding onto these funds.
Summary of findings
Working capital and cash conversion cycle takeaways
ESG and working capital
ESG impacts the ability to borrow and financing cost
1. Lower ESG score should result in increase in borrowing cost (instead of reduction)
2. ESG Score ↓, Optimize internal funding and working capital management
How industries are improving ESG scores:
2021 emerging themes:
Considerations for 2022:
Potential adverse impacts to working capital:
- Geopolitical uncertainties
- New COVID-19 variants
- High inflation
- Federal Reserve monetary policy
Balancing short-term risks with long-term opportunities:
- Inflation: preserve profit margins as input costs rise
- Interest rate rise: deleverage as cost of capital rises
- Supply-chain risks: develop agile and resilient supply chains
- ESG: streamline operations and work toward ESG targets
- Recovery-led growth: use capital to support growth plans
- New-age business models: modify operations amid evolving customer needs
To learn more, please contact your J.P. Morgan representative.
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