From our old (and despondent) pal, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor at The Telegraph:
Companies in Western Europe face a likely funding shortfall of $1.5 trillion (£900bn) next year as central banks withdraw emergency stimulus, and spendthrift governments across the world soak up much of the available capital, according to calculations by Standard & Poor's.
"This is definitely a threat on the horizon," said Blaise Ganguin, the agency's European credit chief.
Some 75 companies large enough to be rated face likely default in 2010 as the slow-burn effects of the crisis hit home. The default rate peaked near 13pc this year, the highest since S&P began to collect data.
The shortage of funds will raise borrowing costs for business by an extra 75 basis points, with the risk of a more serious crunch for small companies. "While the worst of the recession may be behind us, the recovery is likely to be extremely shallow," he said.
Mr Ganguin said capital spending in vulnerable sectors such as automobiles, home furnishing, and forestry may fall by as much as 50pc as they struggle to cope with excess capacity. "These are enormous numbers. It is clearly going to put a dampener on the recovery," he said.
Mr Ganguin said the severity of problems depends how quickly the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve step back from quantitative easing. The Anglo-Saxon central banks have between them bought almost $2 trillion of government debt and mortgage bonds. This has propped up the entire global debt market and capped borrowing costs. As the support is withdrawn - and ultimately reversed - bond yields may rise rapidly to uncomfortable levels....MORE