As we reflect on the one year anniversary of the onset of the global pandemic and the economic disruptions that government-mandated lockdowns have caused, we continue to take comfort in the stability of the fundamental credit profiles of most debt issuers in our global credit research coverage universe.
Of course, major global banks continue to be the largest investment counterparties for our Global Cash business. Despite having endured the worst recession during the middle of 2020 since World War II, the global banking systems have remained quite healthy. Setting aside forward-looking indicators of asset quality, which are still relatively stable despite the pandemic, core balance sheet credit metrics have actually improved since the beginning of the pandemic in many of the banking jurisdictions we focus on. Importantly, after a year of enduring the public health consequences of a global pandemic, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. Across many major economies, COVID-19 cases, hospitalization rates and fatalities have declined materially.