Time and money
Early July, and storms stud the French skies, lightning striking across the country. While the electric atmosphere reigns overhead, the economy unfolds, replete with reviews and outlooks and often ludicrous statistics. The financial daily Les Echos informs us that the world’s top 100 companies together are worth $20,035 billion, or the equivalent of US GDP. According to an annual study published by the PwC audit firm on Thursday, the capitalisation of these businesses has increased 15% in a year, setting a new record.
“Last year’s robust economic health is reflected in the stock market valuation of the companies,” said Philippe Kubisa, partner and capital markets specialist at PwC. On the same day in 2017, the world’s top 100 companies were worth $17,438 billion, having gained 12%. Also according to Les Echos: “US businesses once again dominate the rankings, though China has gained ground. The number-two contributor to the top 100, the country’s participation has leapt a full 57% relative to other companies, reaching a valuation of $2,822 billion.” Two Chinese firms even entered the top 10, the exclusive realm of the United States last year, web giant Tencent placing fifth and online sales giant Alibaba seventh. “Most companies have taken years to reach their current standing, but Tencent and Alibaba have done so much faster,” said Philippe Kubisa.
But the US mega-businesses Apple, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Microsoft continue to rank one, two and three, with tech remaining the number-one sector for the third year in a row. So what about France? Is the country taking advantage of today's renewed growth? As Les Echos reports, the country has indeed successfully maintained its position. “France has held on to its number-five spot in the rankings despite a sharp decline for one of its companies in the top 100. The number-one French capitalisation is LVMH in the 48th spot (owner of Les Echos Group), followed by Total at number 53 and L’Oréal at number 64. Sanofi, the fourth and final French business in the rankings, plummeted from 57th to 90th.” The most remarkable thing about the ranking is its sheer scale, the amounts involved, the excessive nature of this “financial Everest”. The top 100 reflects the new dimension of capitalism as well as the robust health of the planet’s largest businesses. Commenting on the figures, one financial blogger posted, “At least now we know where to send our CVs”. Employing the same irony, another wrote, “We also know where and from whom employees can ask for a pay rise”. Is that thunder we can hear in the air?