Welcome to the June 2021 issue of Credit Management News Digest. This issue is sponsored by Farosol.

UK Late Payment, Business Distress & Insolvency
Two-thirds of UK retailers face legal action in July over unpaid rent. New research by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has found that the pandemic has left UK retailers with £2.9 billion in accumulated rent debts, with two-thirds having been told by landlords that they will be subject to legal measures from July, once the moratorium on aggressive debt enforcement ends. Already, one in seven shops lie empty (BRC-LDC Vacancy Monitor, Q1 2021), and consequently, without action, the BRC warns that thousands more shops could close. Almost one third (30%) of UK retailers advised the BRC that they have already faced County Court Judgements from commercial landlords. Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, warned: "The unpaid rents accrued during the pandemic, when most shops were shut, are a £2.9 billion ball and chain that hold back growth and investment and could result in a tsunami of closures." To read the BRC's news release go to https://brc.org.uk/news/corporate-affairs/two-thirds-of-retailers-face-legal-action-in-july-over-rents/.
New data indicates a 23% reduction in registered company insolvencies in England and Wales in April 2021. The latest data from the Insolvency Service has found that there were 925 registered company insolvencies in England and Wales in April 2021. This figure is 23% lower than the number registered in the same month in the previous year (1,199 in April 2020) and 35% lower than the number registered two years previously (1,429 in April 2019). The Insolvency Service notes that overall numbers of company insolvencies have remained low since the start of the first UK lockdown, when compared with pre-pandemic levels, and suggest that this is likely to be, at least partly, driven by UK government measures put in place to support businesses during the pandemic. To read the Insolvency Services' news release go to https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/monthly-insolvency-statistics-april-2021/commentary-monthly-insolvency-statistics-april-2021.
The UK insolvency and restructuring profession rescued 7200 businesses in 2019. A new report from R3 shows that the insolvency and restructuring profession returned £1.82 billion to creditors in insolvency cases in 2019, of which £353 million was from corporate insolvency and restructuring cases. R3’s research also shows the profession rescued a total of 7,200 UK businesses in 2019, with nearly four out of ten (39%) businesses advised by R3 members still open after their insolvency procedure concluded. Colin Haig, R3 President and Head of Restructuring at Azets, commented: “This report shows what a contribution the profession made in a relatively calm period for the economy, but it also underlines the important role we can play in supporting businesses, individuals and the wider economy to resolve financial distress in a post-pandemic environment.” To download a copy of R3’s report visit https://www.r3.org.uk/press-policy-and-research/policy-research/the-insolvency-restructuring-profession/.
Powers to ban unfit dissolved UK company directors are extended. ICAEW has reported that the Insolvency Service is set to gain new powers to crack down on directors who dissolve companies to avoid repaying government support monies. Under the new legislation, the Insolvency Service will be given powers to investigate directors of companies that have been dissolved, closing a legal loophole and acting as a deterrent against the misuse of the dissolution process. New powers also include sanctions such as disqualification from acting as a company director for up to 15 years. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The measures included in the Ratings (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill are retrospective and will enable the Insolvency Service to tackle Directors who have inappropriately wound up companies that have benefited from Bounce Back Loans." To read ICAEW's news release go to https://www.icaew.com/insights/viewpoints-on-the-news/2021/may-2021/powers-to-ban-unfit-dissolved-company-directors-extended.
UK Economy & Trade Sectors
Strong UK recovery expected this Summer. According to KPMG’s latest UK Economic Outlook, a combination of restrictions lifting, pent-up consumer demand, accumulated excess savings, and a range of government incentives are expected to spark a strong lift-off for the UK economy this Summer. KPMG forecasts that this will see GDP grow by 6.6% (up from the 4.6% forecast in March) in 2021 and 5.4% in 2022, allowing the economy to reach its pre-COVID level by the first quarter next year. However, beyond the short-term, and when UK government support is phased out, and businesses are forced to confront a new normal, KPMG warns that there could be a significant uptick in the number of company insolvencies. This could mean a peak of about 8,000 UK insolvencies around the turn of the year. To read KPMG's news release go to https://home.kpmg/uk/en/home/media/press-releases/2021/06/expected-strong-recovery-marred-by-medium-term-risks-ahead.html.
The UK economy could return to its pre-pandemic level early next year. The OECD's latest Economic Outlook for the UK predicts that after a 9.8% growth contraction in 2020, the UK will see strong GDP growth of 7.2% in 2021 and 5.5% in 2022 — returning to its pre-pandemic level in early 2022. Overall, this will be the fastest growth the UK has seen since World War II. The OECD advises that the UK's growth will be driven by a rebound of consumption, which is expected to bounce back sharply as hard-hit hospitality services and retail trade reopen. However, although the short-term outlook looks bright, the OECD stresses that its projections are contingent on the continued success of the UK's vaccination programme. It also notes that a closer than expected trade relationship with the European Union, notably encompassing services, would improve the economic outlook in the medium term. To read the OECD's report go to https://oecd.org/economic-outlook#global-outlook.
UK economic growth takes off in the quarter to May. According to the CBI’s latest monthly Growth Indicator, in the three months to May, UK private sector activity across the UK economy grew at its fastest pace since August 2015 — with a balance of +30%, up from just +1% last month. Business & professional services activity grew at a survey record pace (+50% from +5%), while distribution sales (+35% from -8%) and manufacturing output (+18% from +3%) increased at the fastest rates since August 2018 and December 2018 respectively. Expectations are that private sector growth will accelerate even further in the coming three months (+42%). If these expectations were to be met, it would be the fastest rate of economic growth on record (since October 2003). All sectors anticipate strong growth over this period. To read the CBI's news release go to https://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/articles/economic-growth-takes-off-in-quarter-to-may/.
UK fashion and lifestyle sales almost double in May. According to BDO’s latest High Street Sales Tracker, UK lifestyle and fashion retailers recorded a strong performance through the first full month of post-lockdown activity, with sustained online sales helping bolster overall growth. The lifestyle category saw total like-for-like sales reaching their highest result on record, as they surged by +85.4% in May from a base of -30.0% for the equivalent month last year. The result marks the third straight month of positive total like-for-like sales for lifestyle. Meanwhile, in the fashion sector, total like-for-like sales nearly hit a record high in May, jumping +83.3% from a base of -22.6% for May last year. This also represents the third consecutive month of positive like-for-like fashion sales. BDO's research indicates that overall total like-for-like sales, combined in-store and online, virtually trebled in May from a poor lockdown base of -18.3% for the equivalent month last year. To read BDO's news release go to https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/news/2021/fashion-and-lifestyle-sales-almost-double-in-may.
UK manufacturing activity rebounds. According to the CBI's latest monthly Industrial Trends Survey, UK manufacturing output grew at the fastest rate since December 2018 — the first material growth reported in almost two years. The survey of manufacturers also found that output increased in 12 of 17 sub-sectors, with growth driven by chemicals, electronic engineering, and metal products. Looking ahead, manufacturers anticipate output to accelerate further in the next three months. In addition, total order books improved to their strongest since December 2017 and were reported to be 'above normal' for the first time since February 2019. Export order books were broadly unchanged from April, but this nonetheless represented the strongest outturn since February 2020. To read the CBI's news release go to https://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/articles/manufacturing-activity-rebounds-but-pricing-pressures-build-further-cbi-monthly-industrial-trends-survey/.  
UK Import & Exports
China replaces Germany as the UK’s biggest single import market. New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found that China has replaced Germany as the UK’s biggest single import market. The ONS' data indicates that goods imports from China to the UK increased by 66% since the start of 2018 to £16.9 billion in the first quarter of 2021. At the same time, imports from Germany fell by a quarter over the same period, to £12.5 billion. Germany had previously been the UK’s main import market, with the exception of a few months between 2020/2021. The figures also showed that comparing the first quarter of 2021 with the first quarter of 2018, total trade in goods with EU countries decreased by 23.1% and with non-EU countries decreased by 0.8%. To read the ONS' news release go to https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/internationaltrade/articles/theimpactsofeuexitandthecoronavirusonuktradeingoods/2021-05-25.
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UK exports have seen a larger decline than would have been expected had pre-2016 trends continued. Researchers from Aston University have reported that the UK’s departure from the European Union appears to have prompted more than £100 billion in UK services exports to switch to Ireland. They note that the shift occurred in the wake of the 2016 referendum and has been accelerating ever since. The research also found that the UK’s services exports have fallen in value by a total of £113 billion compared to trends before the vote, equivalent to nearly 10% of the UK’s entire services exports - a level of decline that would not have been expected had pre-2016 trends continued. Jun Du, Professor of Economics at Aston Business School, commented: “What’s most striking about our research is the extent to which the UK’s relative decline in services exports is mirrored almost exactly by Ireland’s extraordinary growth." To read Aston University's news release go to https://www.aston.ac.uk/latest-news/irish-eyes-smiling-brexit-sees-services-trade-switch-uk-new-research.
British businesses look to new markets for export growth. While concern about the practicalities of the UK’s post-Brexit trade agreement with the EU may be undermining confidence in sales to Britain’s nearest neighbours, new research from Santander's indicates that many businesses are excited about the opportunities that lie further afield. On a regional basis, 32% of companies taking part in Santander's Trade Barometer now view North America as most likely to generate growth for their business over the next three years, ahead of the EU, cited by 31%. This represents a significant shift from the Autumn 2020 Trade Barometer when British businesses were still more likely to favour the EU as a growing export destination. Similarly, 23% of the businesses surveyed now expect significant growth from markets such as Australia and New Zealand, and 21% are looking to Greater China to increase their overseas sales. To read Santander's news release go to https://www.santandercb.co.uk/news-articles/british-businesses-look-new-markets-export-growth.
Global Economy
OECD sees brighter economic prospects but warns of uneven recovery. According to the OECD’s latest Economic Outlook, although prospects for the world economy have brightened, the recovery is likely to remain uneven and, crucially, dependent on the effectiveness of public health measures and policy support. With this caveat, the OECD has revised its growth projections upwards across the world’s major economies since its last full Economic Outlook in December 2020. It now predicts that global GDP growth will be 5.8 % this year (compared with 4.2% projected in December), helped by a government stimulus-led upturn in the US, followed by growth of 4.4% in 2022 (3.7% predicted in December). For the Euro area, the OECD anticipates GDP growth of 4.3% in 2021 and 4.4% in 2022. To read the OECD's news release go to https://www.oecd.org/newsroom/oecd-sees-brighter-economic-prospects-but-an-uneven-recovery.htm.
Global Business failures are 'on pause' despite the pandemic. According to Dun & Bradstreet's latest Global Bankruptcy Report for 2020, in a majority (28) of economies it monitored, even as the pandemic crisis impacted, corporate failures declined in number in Q1-Q3 2020. Dun & Bradstreet notes that in some countries, bankruptcy processes and data reporting seemingly ceased, while in the 36 economies where this was not the case, the year-on-year average drop was 12.4% and 14.7% in total in Q1-Q3 2020. Only a few counties saw business failures rise in the period - including in Portugal, Bulgaria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Sweden, and Taiwan Region. To read Dun & Bradstreet's news release, with a link to the full report (with a country by county analysis), go to https://www.dnb.co.uk/perspectives/finance-credit-risk/global-bankruptcy-report.html.
US corporate bankruptcies could pick up later in 2021. S&P Global has reported that although fewer US companies have entered bankruptcy in 2021 than during the Coronavirus-era surge and "many prior years", experts warn that the pace could pick up later this year as the economy moves past the pandemic. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, as of 30 April,183 US companies had announced bankruptcies so far in 2021; fewer than the 207 filings at the same time in 2020 and a slower pace than all but four of the prior 11 years — 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018. However, as the year progresses, the number of new corporate bankruptcy filings is predicted to resemble the slightly quicker pre-pandemic pace. That said, "I don't think we're going to see a huge spike in bankruptcies," commented James Peck, a former US bankruptcy judge and senior of counsel with the law firm Morrison & Foerster. To read S&P Global's news release go to https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/latest-news-headlines/corporate-bankruptcies-slow-for-now-could-pick-up-later-in-2021-experts-say-64100726.
The already elevated risks confronting global businesses have risen again. Dun & Bradstreet's latest Global Business Risk Report has reported that its Global Business Impact (GBI) score worsened sharply to 300, up from 269 in Q1 2021, reversing the improving trend seen in the previous two quarters. Although the GBI score remains below the levels seen throughout 2020, this means that it is significantly above the long-term average of 266.5. Dun & Bradstreet notes that this highlights the extreme level of uncertainty facing businesses that operate cross-border and illustrates how unexpected events can suddenly worsen the risk environment. "Business decision-makers need to have contingency plans for the sudden disruption of seemingly secure supply chains."  To read D&B's news release go to https://www.dnb.co.uk/perspectives/finance-credit-risk/quarterly-global-business-risk-report.html.
The EU saw a "relatively low number" of bankruptcies in Q1 2021. According to new data from Eurostat, there was an 11.8% increase in the number of new business registrations in the European Union in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. Compared to the previous quarter, registrations of new businesses also increased slightly by 0.3%. During the same time period, the number of registered bankruptcies increased by 7.3% compared to Q1 2020 and by 5.8% growth compared with the fourth quarter of 2020. Eurostat notes that the "relatively low number of bankruptcies in many countries" may be explained by the government measures supporting businesses during the crisis that may have allowed businesses that would otherwise have filed for bankruptcy to continue their activities. To see Eurostat's news release and data go to https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/ddn-20210525-1.
G20 merchandise trade reaches a record high in the first quarter of 2021. The OECD has advised that continuing the recovery initiated in Q2 2020, international merchandise trade for the G20 reached record levels in Q1 2021. Compared with the previous quarter, exports and imports increased by 8.0% and 8.1%, respectively, and, except for the UK, all G20 economies recorded positive growth. China, in particular, the G20’s largest merchandise trader, saw exports (+18.9%) and imports (+19.0%) soar in the first quarter of 2021. Although the UK was the only G20 economy to record negative merchandise trade growth, both for exports (-5.7%) and for imports (-10.5%) in Q1 2021, the slowdown follows large increases in the previous quarter, when stockpiling was taking place before the UK's exit from the EU Single Market. To read the OECD's news release go to https://www.oecd.org/sdd/its/international-trade-statistics-trends-in-first-quarter-2021.htm.
Events & Professional Development
TXF Export Finance Virtual World Fair, 8-10 June.
TXF Export Finance Virtual World Fair is the largest and leading conference for the export and project finance industry, and we will be welcoming over 2500 attendees through our virtual doors composed of state ministers, CEOs of large cap industrial companies, ECAs, DFIs, agencies, borrowers, SOEs, exporters and financial institutions.
As the world recovers from the pandemic, we bring the market together to discuss leveraging the tools of export finance to rebuild the global economy. The TXF World Fair 2021, June, 8-10, welcomes banking, agency and corporate CEOs, government ministries and industry specialists to strategize how to spur growth in both sustainable and traditional export credit sectors.
Connect with 2500+ borrowers, SOEs, agencies and FIs, though our networking messenger app and tailored forums for the chance to make real connections, and ultimately deal opportunities.
Gain the latest insight on:
  • Financing climate and social projects
  • Energy transition
  • Paris Agreement compliant portfolios
  • Legislation and OECD consensus
  • Reviving cruise and aviation sectors
  • The future of oil and gas
  • Evolving export credit business models
To find the agenda for the virtual event this 8-10 June click here.
To find out more and register please contact: natasha.warne@txfmedia.com.
GTR US 2021. 16-17 June 2021.
Providing the first installment of GTR’s hybrid offering for 2021, GTR US will return in virtual format on June 16-17, followed by a physical gathering in New York, NY on December 8. Reviewing the key events driving trade disruption across the US during the first half of 2021, this virtual gathering will provide unique networking opportunities and the chance to reflect on trade during the first months of President Biden’s administration, the contagion risks associated with recent high profile insolvencies in the supply chain finance space, and the latest digital innovations being implemented by the region’s leading corporates and trade finance lenders. Don’t miss the chance to join hundreds of your industry peers for the latest take on the trade growth opportunities emerging across a resurgent US economy, and the risk management and working capital optimization strategies and solutions boosting the bottom line in a challenging business climate. For more information and to book your place, please go to https://www.gtreview.com/events/virtual/gtr-us-2021/.
Atradius Webinar: De-globalisation – a new way to trade, but will it stick?
In the final event of our series, From crisis to opportunity: what’s the future of trade? we’ll explore the subject of de-globalisation. Most commentators currently agree that all signs point to a slow-down in cross-border trade relative to GDP. But not every economist agrees on what this signifies. Does it represent the first stages of a permanent state of de-globalisation? Will we see an acceleration of de-coupling and re-shoring? Or are we simply witnessing a small dip within an overall trend of increasing globalisation?
We’ll ask our panel to share their thoughts on key issues and trends that your business should be looking at right now and at how businesses may best adapt to changing markets and varying models of international trade.
When: Wednesday, 23 June 2021, 10:00 AM BST
Where: In front of your computer with a good cup of coffee
Time: 45 minute panel discussion - with 15 minutes live Q&A
Register Here
The event will be moderated by Daisy McAndrew (former Economics Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for ITV News) and will feature some of the world’s leading voices on global economics and international business, including:
  • Dr Linda Yueh – Leading economist on global trends, Fellow in Economics, St Edmund Hall, Oxford University and Adjunct Professor of Economics, London Business School 
  • Valter Viero – Assistant Financial Director, Acciaierie Valbruna SpA 
  • Bart Jan Koopman – Director of Evofenedex, the Dutch trade association 
  • Eric den Boogert – Managing Director Asia, Atradius
National Credit Awards 2021. 21 October 2021. The Waldorf Hilton, London.
New for 2021, MoneyAge is proud to present the National Credit Awards.
The awards are designed to honour the outstanding professionals and firms in the many varied fields of the credit industry, to recognise, celebrate, and promote best practice, to support continuing development, and to contribute towards raising the standards within the credit arena.
The awards are free to enter and you can enter as many categories as you like.
Head over to the website to find out more.
SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY: https://www.moneyage.co.uk/creditawards/index.php.
Deadline for entries: 25 June 2021
Stecis is getting back on track with Webinars, Classroom courses and Masterclasses.
As we all hope that the Covid-19 pandemic is under control after the summer, STECIS has planned again a number of classroom courses in November 2021. For Trade Credit Insurance and Surety Bonds, at each Foundation and Advanced courses will be offered in the vicinity of Amsterdam Schiphol. In case still necessary, all applicable Covid-19 restrictions will be in place during the classroom training courses. During the classroom trainings real, practical cases will be discussed. Additionally, various webinars on both Trade Credit Insurance and Surety Bonds have been already scheduled throughout the year. These webinars are interesting to all individuals who are starting their career in the TCI and/or Surety Bonds industry, but also for all other interested parties like brokers, re-insurers´ employees, lawyers, credit managers etc.
To expand our offering STECIS is currently developing three masterclasses on Trade Credit Insurance that will address the following topics: TCI and Digitalisation, Non-traditional TCI products and TCI and Finance. These masterclasses will be hold by top experts from the TCI industry presenting the recent developments and trends in the field of TCI. Joining these masterclass will be not only be an excellent way to keep up to date with important developments in the TCI world. The courses are also an excellent means to increase your professional network as you will meet other participants and top experts from the industry.
When the outlines of the three masterclasses are available, they will be shared via Credit Insurance News and the website of Stecis.
More information can be found on the Stecis’ website: www.stecis.org.
All courses will run at the Steigenberger Hotel at Amsterdam-Schiphol.
Further information can be obtained by sending an email to: info@stecis.org.

About the Sponsor: Farosol
Farosol is an international network of specialist credit insurance brokers serving more than 20 countries around the world. In order to maximise this network of innovative ideas, members have completed questionnaires reporting on the effect of the Covid pandemic on the industry, which has given great insight at both national and global levels. This means that the Farosol broking team continues to provide an unrivalled range of tailored credit insurance products as well as complementary services in the field of credit management, including asset-based finance.
Farosol members cover multiple countries to provide a seamless international footprint offering a significant direct advantage for their clients. This enables international companies using Farosol’s services to negotiate globally competitive rates for cross-border solutions in both credit insurance and credit management whilst still being serviced by independent brokers with local expertise. The best of both worlds!
Farosol’s ethos is based on expertise, close relationships, service quality, fairness and information transparency delivered with passion and enthusiasm making it an unrivalled partner for quality risk transfer and credit management programmes.
Client needs are paramount in Farosol’s approach, working across frontiers to put winning strategies in place. In this recent survey of its membership to assess the impact of the Corona epidemic on the global credit insurance marketplace for their customers, a number of themes were evident which supported the ‘thinking globally acting locally’ ethos. For further analysis specific to your region visit the Farosol website (www.farosol.com).
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