Welcome to the September 2022 issue of Credit Management News Digest. 
This issue is sponsored by Chubb.

UK: Late Payment, Business Distress & Insolvencies
Critical financial distress rises as UK companies face a combination of economic threats. The latest Begbies Traynor Red Flag Alert report has indicated the financial strain continuing to be faced by thousands of UK businesses. The research revealed the number of companies rated as being in "critical financial distress" continued to rise, jumping by more than a third (to 1,957) in Q2 2022 compared with the same period last year, and edging up 3% compared to Q1 2022. Evidence of this financial distress comes from CCJ data, arguably an early warning sign of future insolvency, which revealed 46,235 rulings in the first six months of 2022, compared with 59,042 CCJs during the entirety of 2021. To read Begbies Traynor's news release go to https://www.begbies-traynorgroup.com/news/business-health-statistics/critical-financial-distress-rises-as-companies-face-a-combination-of-economic-threats.
UK small businesses are squeezed by rising levels of unapproved debt. Xero's latest Small Business Index has reported that the average wait time for UK small businesses to be paid has increased by 0.4 days to 30.4 days. This is the fourth consecutive monthly rise in this measure, taking the average time for a payment to be made 1.6 days above the 2021 average of 28.8 days. On average, payments to small businesses by their suppliers were made 8.3 days late in July, which was 0.7 days longer than in June. In addition, according to another recent Xero survey of large organisations, late payment offenders can no longer plead ignorance — 78% admitted they are aware they are paying their suppliers late and understand the impact it can have. To read Xero's news release go to https://www.xero.com/uk/media-releases/uk-xsbi-july-data/.
Q2 UK corporate insolvencies increased by 81.3% compared to Q2 2021. New data from the Insolvency Sevice has found that there were 5,629 seasonally adjusted UK corporate insolvencies in Q2 2022, an increase of 12.7% compared to Q1 2022's figures of 4,995 and an increase of 81.3% compared to Q2 2021. Christina Fitzgerald, President of R3, commented: "The figures published show the highest levels of corporate insolvency since 2012. This has been driven by an increase in all forms of insolvency process — but Creditors' Voluntary Liquidations have peaked to their highest recorded figure of 4,908, suggesting that many directors are opting to close their businesses as they lack confidence in their trading prospects in the current climate." To read R3's news release go to https://www.r3.org.uk/press-policy-and-research/news/more/31323/page/1//.
UK company insolvencies in July increased by 52% in 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. New data from Creditsafe has found that July 2022 saw the total number of UK insolvencies (2,124) fall by 5% compared to June, but increase by 23% compared to July 2021. The total number of UK company insolvencies in the year to July increased by 52% compared to the same period in 2021 but decreased by 12% compared to 2020. Overall, Creditsafe found that the Construction sector remains the most significant contributor to the insolvency numbers, representing 19% of all insolvencies in June 2022, with 396 Construction companies becoming insolvent. Year-to-date, Construction accounts for 18% of all company insolvencies in 2022. To read Creditsafe's news release go to https://www.creditsafe.com/gb/en/blog/reports/06-2022.html.
New data indicates a surge in Winding Up Petition Applications filed in the High Courts of England & Wales. Recent research by InfolinkGazette has found that, after a slow start in 2022, when the number of Initial Stage Winding Up Petition Applications filed in the High Courts of England & Wales averaged just 30 petitions per week, the last twelve weeks have seen numbers increase significantly. As an example, the week ending 26 August saw a total of 84 filings, 51 of which were issued by HMRC. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: "More severe HMRC enforcement action is hardly surprising; we've seen the mean amount due to HMRC in UK insolvencies double to £159,000 from the pre-pandemic mean of £80,000". Greg added: "Crown preference and bigger pay-outs to HMRC are causing dividend payments to ordinary trade creditors to shrink." To read InfolinkGazette's news release go to https://www.infolinkgazette.co.uk/#press.
UK corporate insolvencies increased by 66.7% in July 2022 compared to July 2021. Latest data from the Insolvency Service has indicated that UK corporate insolvencies increased by 7.5% in July 2022 to a total of 1,827 compared to June's total of 1,699, and increased by 66.7% compared to July 2021's figure of 1,096. The increase was driven by a rise in Creditors' Voluntary Liquidations, which were 59.9% higher than this time last year, and 60.1% higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Christina Fitzgerald, President of R3 and partner at Edwin Coe LLP, commented that most R3 members will offer a free initial consultation to help business owners better understand their position and outline the potential options available should issues arise. To read R3's news release go to https://www.r3.org.uk/press-policy-and-research/news/more/31343/page/1//.
UK Economy
UK GDP grew by 0.2% in July 2022 following a fall of 0.6% in June 2022. Latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that UK GDP grew by 0.2% in July 2022 following a fall of 0.6% in June 2022. Looking at the broader picture, GDP was flat in the three months to July compared with the previous three months. Services grew by 0.4% in July 2022, after a fall of 0.5% in June 2022, and was the main driver to the rise in GDP; information and communication grew by 1.5% and was the largest contributor to the services growth in July. Production fell by 0.3% after a fall of 0.9% in June 2022; this was mainly because of a fall of 3.4% in electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply. Construction also fell in July 2022 by 0.8%, after a fall of 1.4% in June 2022; the decrease in monthly construction output in July 2022 came solely from repair and maintenance, which fell 2.6%. To read the ONS' news release go to https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/gdp-monthly-estimate-uk-july-2022.
The BCC expects the UK economy to plunge into recession before the end of 2022. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has again downgraded its expectations for UK GDP growth and is now forecasting a recession for the UK economy with three consecutive quarters of contraction between Q2 and Q4 2022. Annual expectations for GDP growth also continue to decline, with 3.3% forecast for 2022, significantly below the 7.4% growth recorded in 2021. However, unlike the Bank of England, the BCC expects the economy to grow in 2023, albeit at a very low 0.2%, with a slight increase to 1% in 2024. More sustained inflationary pressure is also now forecast for Q4 2022, with the CPI inflation rate expected to reach a peak of 14%. This is up from the previous, already high, projected rate of 10%. To read the BCC's news release go to https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/news/2022/09/bcc-economic-forecast-new-pm-must-act-as-uk-economy-set-for-recession-before-year-end.
PwC's 'Harsh Winter' model predicts that the UK could enter a recession as early as this year. PwC's latest UK Economic Outlook advises that the UK economy shrank by 0.6% in June, with polarised growth at regional levels, with some regions struggling to make a breakthrough beyond pre-pandemic levels. For example, London grew at the fastest rate of 2.3% in Q3 and is now 1.3% above the pre-crisis level, while most regions experienced a contraction of between 1.2% and 0.3% and remain around 3.3% smaller than pre-pandemic levels. PwC also notes that it estimates that the UK economy contracted by 0.1% in Q2 and advises that its growth outlook for the UK has deteriorated. Over 2022, PwC now expects UK GDP growth to average between 3.1% and 3.6%, followed by two years of slow, or even negative, GDP growth. However, PwC notes that its 'Harsh Winter' model predicts that the UK could enter a recession as early as this year. To read PwC's Economic Outlook go to https://www.pwc.co.uk/economic-services/ukeo/ukeo-september-2022.pdf.
Further downgrades to growth forecast but the UK economy should narrowly avoid recession. The latest EY ITEM Club forecast has downgraded the UK's economic growth prospects. However, the Summer Forecast says that the UK should narrowly avoid a recession — provided there are no further energy price shocks and the Bank of England doesn't tighten monetary policy too quickly. The EY ITEM Club now forecasts that UK GDP will grow by 3.7% this year, down from the 4.1% predicted in the spring, followed by 1% growth in 2023, a downgrade from 1.9%. As inflation falls back, the EY ITEM Club expects the economy to expand by 2.4% in 2024, slightly faster than previously predicted (2.2%). To read EY's news release go to https://www.ey.com/en_uk/news/2022/07/further-downgrades-to-growth-forecast-but-uk-economy-should-narrowly-avoid-recession-says-latest-ey-item-club-report.
The UK economy may already be in recession. A new report from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has advised that the UK economy is likely to enter recession in the third quarter of 2022 and remain there until the first quarter of 2023. NIESR's forecast for year-on-year GDP growth is 3.5% in 2022 and 0.5% in 2023, with slightly negative growth in the third and fourth (but not the second) quarters of 2022, and the first quarter of 2023: a three-quarter technical recession, but a relatively shallow one. NIESR notes that London continues to power ahead even as the economy slows down, and certain parts of the UK are still below pre-pandemic levels of economic output. To read NIESR's Outlook go to https://www.niesr.ac.uk/publications/risky-present?type=uk-economic-outlook.
UK CFOs expect a recession within the next year. According to Deloitte's UK CFO Survey Q2 2022, amid rising inflation and intensifying economic headwinds, UK finance leaders assign a 63% probability of experiencing a recession in the UK within the next year. The majority of CFOs (86%) also expect inflation to exceed 2.5% in two years (up from 78% in Q1) — the highest reading on record. Ian Stewart, Chief Economist at Deloitte, commented: "The Chief Financial Officers of the UK's largest companies are braced for a recession. . . Yet CFOs are not in batten down the hatches mode. Risk appetite is only slightly below average levels, and well above the lows seen in the financial crisis, at the time of the EU referendum and during the pandemic." To read Deloitte's news release go to https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/press-releases/articles/cfos-expect-a-recession-within-the-next-year-as-inflation-bites.html.
UK Trade Sectors & Exports
UK store closures are at the lowest rate in seven years, but openings continue to lag behind pre-pandemic levels. According to PwC’s latest Store Openings and Closures report for H1 2022, developed in conjunction with The Local Data Company, there were 34 store closures and 21 openings (a net closure of 12 stores per day) during the first six months of 2022. In total, H1 saw 6,146 store closures (-30% vs 2021) from multiple retail operators (five or more outlets nationally) vs 3,888 openings (+11% vs 2021) — resulting in the lowest number of net closures in five years. Lucy Stainton, Commercial Director at The Local Data Company, commented: "What’s clear from the latest numbers, is that the impact of COVID-19 has finally washed through. However, we now face a new round of economic headwinds, so it remains to be seen if we can really expect this more positive trajectory to continue." To read PwC's news release go to https://www.pwc.co.uk/press-room/press-releases/store-closures-at-lowest-rate-in-seven-years-but-openings-continu.html.
UK retail sales pick up but firms remain pessimistic about business outlook. According to the CBI’s latest quarterly Distributive Trades Survey, UK retailers reported that year-on-year retail sales grew at the fastest pace in nine months (+37% from -4% in July) and are expecting another quick rise in sales next month (+31%).However, sentiment amongst retailers remained gloomy, with firms feeling pessimistic about the business situation over the next three months to the greatest extent since the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020. To read the CBI's news release go to https://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/articles/retail-sales-pick-up-but-firms-remain-pessimistic-about-business-outlook-cbi-quarterly-distributive-trades-survey/.
UK retailers record slowest growth in discretionary spend since lockdown. According to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker, total like-for-like UK sales, combined in-store and online, increased by +3.6% in August compared to a base of +20.1% in the equivalent month last year. Total non-store LFLs dipped into the red for the first time since March this year, with a fall of -0.6% compared to August 2021. Total in-store LFLs recorded the lowest result (+8.0%) since the re-opening of bricks-and-mortar shops last year. Sophie Michael, Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, commented: "September’s results will show just how significant the pull back in discretionary spending is likely to be this winter, but clearly these results in August show that consumers are cutting their budgets." To read BDO's news release go to https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/news/2022/retailers-record-slowest-growth-in-discretionary-spend-since-lockdown.
UK sales growth slows. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) had advised that in the four weeks 31 July – 27 August 2022, on a total basis, sales increased by 1.0% in August, against an increase of 3.0% in August 2021. This is above the 3-month average of 0.7%, but below the 12-month average growth of 2.5%. UK retail sales increased 0.5% on a like-for-like basis from August 2021, when they had increased 1.5%. This was above the 3-month average growth of 0.1% but below the 12-month average growth of 0.7%. Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of BRC, commented: "While inflation in retail prices is lower than general inflation at over 10%, this still represents a significant drop in sales volumes." To read the BRC's news release go to https://brc.org.uk/news/corporate-affairs/sales-growth-slows-as-price-hikes-loom/.
Growth seems off the menu for UK small firms. The latest quarterly Federation of Small Business (FSB) Small Business Index has found that the combined proportion of small UK firms who predict that they will stay the same size (38.7%) or downsize or even close their business (14.7%), at 53.4%, outweighs the 46.6% who predict they will grow in the coming 12 months. The results differed by sector, with a better outlook for businesses in the information and communication sector, where 62.9% of businesses expected to grow in the next year, compared with only 33.9% of wholesale and retail firms, and 34.9% of hospitality sector businesses. Small firms' anaemic growth predictions coincided with the highest-recorded proportion of firms saying their costs are higher than a year ago, at 89.0%. To read the FSB's news release go to https://www.fsb.org.uk/resources-page/growth-off-the-menu-for-small-firms-as-cost-crunch-bites-deep-new-report-finds.html.
A survey of over 2,600 UK exporters indicates that overseas sales growth has been effectively stagnant for more than a year. The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) has reported that its quarterly Trade Confidence Outlook for Q2 2022 showed the proportion of UK exporters reporting increased overseas sales to be unchanged from Q1 at 29%, while those reporting a decrease remained at 25%. This compares to around 40% of UK businesses consistently reporting increased domestic sales across the same time period in the BCC's Quarterly Economic Survey (QES). UK manufacturers trading overseas are under particular pressure, with only 39% expecting their profitability to increase in the next twelve months, compared to 48% of UK service sector exporters. This compares to 43% of all businesses surveyed in the QES. To read the BCC's news release go to https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/news/2022/07/bcc-calls-for-action-as-exports-remain-in-limbo.
Cash flow crunch continues to hamper UK small businesses. A new report by Xero has found that cash flow challenges are undermining the growth and operations of at least nine in ten small businesses in the UK and that the average small business faces cash flow crunches — where monthly expenses exceed revenues — for more than four months each year, with 23% experiencing it for more than six months each year. 94% of UK small businesses suffered at least one month of negative cash flow in 2021. When examining specific industries, the report found that small hospitality businesses felt the brunt of the initial COVID-19 impact. The proportion of small firms that were cash flow negative in this sector peaked at 54% in July 2020. In contrast, professional service businesses fared relatively well before and during the pandemic. To read Xero's news release go to https://www.xero.com/uk/media-releases/cash-flow-crunch-continues-to-hamper-uk-small-businesses/.
Global Economy
Ukraine continues to darken global economic prospects by adding inflationary pressure and increased geo-political uncertainty. A new report from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has advised that continued supply chain disruptions and the Chinese slowdown in response to renewed COVID-19 threats have led it to revise down its forecast for global GDP growth from its Spring Outlook for both this year and the next, from 3.3% to 2.8%, and from 3.2% to 2.8%, respectively. NIESR notes increased recession risks in several countries, including the US. In light of the latest information, NIESR has also raised its OECD inflation forecast for 2022 from 8.2% to 9.6% — the highest rate since 1988 — and for 2023 from 4.4% to 6.2% To read NIESR's Outlook go to https://www.niesr.ac.uk/publications/fraying-edges?type=global-economic-outlook.
Compared with the same quarter in 2021, GDP in Q2 increased by 4.1% in the euro area and by 4.2% in the EU. According to an estimate published by Eurostat, in the second quarter of 2022 GDP increased by 0.8% in the euro area and by 0.7% in the EU compared with the previous quarter, and by 4.1% in the euro area and by 4.2% in the EU compared to the same quarter in 2021. The Netherlands (+2.6%) recorded the highest increase of GDP compared to the previous quarter, followed by Romania (+2.1%) and Croatia (+2.0%). Decreases were observed in Poland (-2.1%), Estonia (-1.3%), Latvia (-1.0%), Lituania (-0.5%) and the US (-0.1%). GDP volumes in the euro area and EU were 1.8% and 2.3% respectively above the levels recorded in the fourth quarter of 2019, before the COVID-19 outbreak. To read Eurostat's news release go to https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/14698162/2-07092022-AP-EN.pdf/955b2522-9712-c5bd-5e3d-f7d26d221e6c?t=1662477595315.
The IMF reports an increasingly gloomy world economic outlook in 2022. The IMF's latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) update has advised that its baseline forecast is for growth to slow from 6.1% last year to 3.2% in 2022, 0.4% lower than in the April 2022 WEO. Among advanced economies, the US is now predicted to see growth of 2.3% in 2022 and 1% in 2023, while the euro area looks set to see 2.6% growth in 2022 and 1.2% in 2023. The IMF also notes that risks to the outlook are overwhelmingly tilted to the downside and suggests that a plausible alternative scenario in which risks materialise, inflation rises further, and global growth declines to about 2.6% and 2.0% in 2022 and 2023, respectively, would put growth in the bottom 10% of outcomes since 1970. To read the IMF's WEO with a presentation of results go to https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/Issues/2022/07/26/world-economic-outlook-update-july-2022.
Most European SMEs rely on loans due to slow and missing payments. LondonLovesBusiness has reported that new research from Vodeno has revealed that European SMEs suffer from significant payment issues. The company commissioned an independent survey among SMEs across the UK, Belgium, France and the Netherlands and found that only 10% of SMEs said that payments are processed instantly. Most commonly, (35%) international payments take between two and three days to reach SMEs, with 11% waiting between four and six days. As a result, 52% of the SMEs surveyed have failed to meet commitments due to slow payment processing, and 62% reported that delayed and unpredictable cashflow is their business's biggest challenge. To read LondonLovesBusiness' article go to https://londonlovesbusiness.com/majority-of-european-smes-relying-on-loans-due-to-slow-and-missing-payments/.
Leading indicators continue to point to weakening growth in most major economies. The OECD's latest Composite Leading Indicators (CLIs), which are designed to anticipate turning points in economic activity over the next six to nine months, continue to signal a slowdown in most major economies and in the OECD area as a whole. Among large OECD economies, the CLIs continue to anticipate a loss of growth momentum in Canada, the UK and the Us, as well as in the euro area as a whole including France, Germany and Italy. Stable growth continues to be expected in Japan. Among major emerging-market economies, the CLI for China (industrial sector) now points to a loss in growth momentum. In India, the CLI continues to indicate stable growth whereas in Brazil it signals growth losing momentum. To read the OECD's news release go to https://www.oecd.org/sdd/leading-indicators/composite-leading-indicators-cli-oecd-september-2022.htm.
G20 GDP falls 0.4% in the second quarter of 2022. New data from the OECD estimates that GDP in the G20 area fell 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter of 2022 after rising 0.5% in the first quarter. The slowdown in Q2 is mainly reflected the sharp contraction in China, where GDP fell by 2.6% quarter-on-quarter after rising by 1.4% in Q1 2022. GDP also contracted in India (by 1.4%), in South Africa (by 0.7%) and in the UK and the US (by 0.1% in both countries). Growth also slowed but remained positive in Saudi Arabia (2.2%), Indonesia (1.0%), Mexico (0.9%) and Germany (0.1%). Despite the contraction in GDP in the G20 area as a whole, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Japan, Korea and Turkey recorded stronger growth in Q2 2022 than in the previous quarter. In France, GDP rose by 0.5% in Q2 2022 following a contraction of 0.2% in the previous quarter, while in Canada growth remained steady at 0.8%. In the second quarter of 2022, GDP was still lower than pre-pandemic (Q4 2019) levels in two G20 countries: Mexico and In South Africa. To read the OECD's news release go to https://www.oecd.org/newsroom/g20-gdp-growth-second-quarter-2022-oecd.htm.
Events & Professional Development
ICISA Trade Credit Insurance Week, 26-30 September. Online.
Trade Credit Insurance week is a week of celebration of Trade Credit Insurance sector. With this event, ICISA aims at increasing awareness of the valuable economic role of TCI industry. Experts in the sector agreed to join our initiative and share their views on issues faced by the industry nowadays.
The event will take place between 26 – 30 September 2022. A total of 9 virtual sessions will be organized during the week, featuring debates, interviews, webinars and presentations.
To participate in this first Trade Credit Insurance Week event, please click here to register for each session you'd like to join. After registration, a confirmation email will be received from Livestorm. A reminder will follow an hour before each session.
Sessions include
  • Public Perception of Trade Credit Insurance: “The Umbrella that Doesn’t Open” 
  • Why Financial Institutions use Credit Insurance - Challenges, Changes and Opportunities 
  • The Changing Nature of Trade 
  • Current Trends and Evolution in TCI Market 
  • Development of US Credit Insurance Market 
  • Attracting and Retaining Talent 
  • State-of-the-art Technology in Insurance Industry 
  • What Role can TCI Play in Building a more Sustainable Future
  • Understanding the Evolving Sanctions Landscape
If you have issues registering to our event(s), please contact secretariat@icisa.org. We'll come back to you as soon as possible.
ICISA is happy to be working with Trade Finance Global on the promotion of the Trade Credit Insurance Week.
For more information go to https://icisa.org/event/trade-credit-insurance-week-2022/.
SCHUMANN Digital Risk Management Conference 2022.

The SCHUMANN Conference is the cross-industry and multinational online event for decision-makers and executives around credit risk management, compliance, and digitalisation projects. 

On 27 September 2022, you can expect expert knowledge, how-to strategies from our customers and inspiration to help you increase your competitiveness through process automation.

  • via live stream 
  • 27 September 2022 
  • 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (CEST) 
  • The conference is aimed at decision-makers and executives in charge of credit risk management, compliance, business development and digitalisation.
  • Industries: Manufacturing and trade, energy, financial services, credit & surety, etc. 
  • Participation is free of charge

For more information go to https://prof-schumann.com/en/conference
To register Click here.

STECIS, the Trade Credit Insurance & Surety Academy endorsed by ICISA, offers a range of webinars and classroom training courses.
The classroom training courses are scheduled to take place in September 2022 on the following dates:
  • 27 & 28 September 2022: Trade Credit Insurance Foundation Course
  • 29 & 30 September 2022: Trade Credit Insurance Advanced Course
  • 27 & 28 September 2022: Surety Foundation Course
  • 29 & 30 September 2022: Surety Advanced Course
To avoid missing out on this opportunity, please register with us before the 25th of July to let us know your interest in this course and reserve your place. We will let you know after the 25th in the unlikely event the course cannot go ahead
All classroom courses will take place in the Steigenberger Airport hotel close to Schiphol Airport/Amsterdam the Netherlands. The courses include lunches and a dinner at the end of the first training day.
The courses are hosted by seasoned experts from the industry and there is ample opportunity for posing questions, discussions and networking.
Also there is the possibility to arrange an inhouse training: then there will be created a tailor made outline for your staff on basis the training demand of your of your company. The training will be effected at your own offices or at a venue of choice.
Detailed information about the webinar and classroom training courses is available on the Stecis’ website: www.stecis.org also further information can be obtained by sending an e-mail to info@stecis.org.
About this month's sponsor: Chubb
Chubb is the world's largest publicly traded P&C insurance company. With operations in 54 countries and territories, Chubb provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance to a diverse group of clients. We combine the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the very best insurance coverage and service to individuals and families, and businesses of all sizes. 
Chubb has more than $200 billion in assets and reported $46.8 billion of gross premiums written in 2021.
Chubb's core operating insurance companies maintain financial strength ratings of AA from Standard & Poor’s and A++ from A.M. Best.
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