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European businesses are accepting longer payment terms. Intrum Justitia's 2016 edition of The European Payment Industry White Paper, indicates that in Europe as a whole 15% of those surveyed see an increasing risk from debtors, while almost three quarters expect their debtors to remain stable over the next 12 months. Most worries are found in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector - where 22% said they see an increased risk. The survey also finds that there is a disquieting trend for European businesses to accept longer payment terms, with, on average, 46% of businesses reporting having been asked to accept longer payment terms than they feel comfortable with and an equal number having accepted longer payment terms. To read Intrum Justitia's news release (which contains details on how to register for the full report) go to
The Implications of a 'Hard Brexit' to the UK Economy? D&B Has published an article, 'What are the Implications of a 'Hard Brexit' to the UK Economy?' which reports that it is becoming more and more evident that the British government is heading for what the media are calling a 'hard Brexit'. D&B warns that hard Brexit would have a significantly higher adverse business impact than a soft Brexit and, against the backdrop of elevated levels of political uncertainty, advises the British economy is likely to enter much choppier waters in the next few months. This will lead to a deceleration of growth, and the pound will remain weak for the foreseeable future. D&B previously lowered the UK’s risk rating by two notches from DB2a to DB2c immediately after the referendum, but, in light of more recent circumstances, there has been a further downgrade in UK’s risk rating to DB2d. This rating further maintains the country's deteriorating outlook, whilst also highlighting the risk of further downgrades in the months ahead. To read D&B's article go to
Uncertainty following the vote to leave the EU is slowing down export orders in the UK services sector. The British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with DHL, has published its latest Quarterly International Trade Outlook, which indicates that uncertainty following the vote to leave the EU is slowing down export orders in the UK services sector. The services sector saw a slowdown in growth, with the balance of businesses in the sector expecting an improvement in sales and orders also falling to its lowest level in five years. In contrast, the report also shows that a greater proportion of manufacturers enjoyed an improved export performance compared with the second quarter, with some benefiting from sterling’s recent fall. Commenting on the findings, Adam Marshall, BCC Director General, said: “While factors including the weaker pound have benefited manufacturers when it comes to exporting, the services sector continues to face challenges. The slowing in export orders in the services sector is concerning considering the sector is by far the largest part of the economy." To read the BCC's news release go to
UK's economic forecast is unchanged for 2016, but slower growth is predicted over the next two years. The CBI has advised that its growth forecast in 2016 is unchanged at 2%, reflecting a stronger first half of the year and resilience in the months since the referendum, but has predicted weaker economic performance in 2017 - revising down its GDP growth forecast to 1.3%, from 2% in the previous forecast (May 2016). Economic uncertainty is expected to hit business investment, which accounts for a significant element of the downgrade. Furthermore, rising inflation is expected to affect household spending, further curbing economic growth. To read the CBI's news release go to
EU and UK business optimism sees a dramatic fall post-EU referendum. New research by Grant Thornton has identified a significant drop in UK business confidence following the UK's vote to leave the EU. The firm's International Business Report recorded a -19% drop in net business optimism in the third quarter compared with the previous quarter, and a -46% drop from the same period last year. The survey of businesses in 36 economies, conducted in August and September, also identified a loss of confidence across the EU, with optimism dropping -7% in the quarter, with Ireland (-24%), France (-18%) and Spain (-19%) amongst some of the trading bloc's biggest drops. To read Grant Thornton's news release go to
Christmas/New Year period could turn out to be as risky as the carnage in 2008/09 for UK retailers. Opus Business Services has issued a news release which advises that new research by Kantar has revealed that UK shoppers spent £700 million less on clothing, shoes and accessories in the year to September 2016 and that the period ended with four successive months of falling sales - the sharpest decline since 2009. Opus adds that the UK retail sector is experiencing a pernicious pincer effect on its already vulnerable profitability as top line income falls and the weakness of sterling drives up the cost of the imported goods retailers sell. To make matters worse, a huge hike in business rates in high-density city centres and shopping malls comes into effect next April. In consequence, Opus warns that the forthcoming Christmas/New Year period could turn out to be as risky as the carnage in 2008/09. To read Opus Business Services' news release go to
Retailers closing 15 stores a day as the UK high street continues to reshape. In the first six months of 2016, 2,656 shops closed on Great Britain’s high streets - a rate of 15 stores a day, PwC research compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC) reveals. This is a slight increase on the 14 stores a day reported to have closed in the first six months of 2015. However, the number of new openings has also fallen, leading to a net 503 stores disappearing from high streets, retail parks and shopping centres in the first half of 2016 - the highest net decline since H1 2012 (when 953 more stores closed than opened). The data also reveals that across multiple retailers in 500 town centres, fashion shops, banks, mobile phone shops, and women’s clothing shops have been amongst the hardest hit in the first half of 2016. To read PwC's news release go to
German SMEs most optimistic as the international economy responds to Brexit. Germany’s small businesses are the most optimistic about their own economy according to the inaugural Global Business Monitor report from Bibby Financial Services (BFS). 73% of German SMEs say their national economy is performing well in the global study that surveyed business owners in the US, Germany, UK, Poland, Hong Kong and Ireland. Irish SMEs came second, with 67% of SMEs confident about the local economy. Conversely, less than one in five businesses in Hong Kong (15%) say they are confident about their local economy, with less than a quarter (24%) expecting sales to increase in the next 12 months. To read BFS' news release go to
New Zealand is first in ease of doing business among 190 economies. The latest analysis from the World Bank on the ease of doing business, Doing Business 2017, has advised that it has awarded its coveted top spot to New Zealand. Singapore ranks second, followed by: Denmark; Hong Kong SAR, China; Republic of Korea; Norway; the UK; the US; Sweden and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The world’s top 10 improvers, based on reforms undertaken, are: Brunei Darussalam; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Belarus; Indonesia; Serbia; Georgia; Pakistan; United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Doing Business' data also points to continued successes in the ease of doing business worldwide; for example, starting a new business now takes an average of 21 days worldwide, compared with 46 days 10 years ago. To read the report go to
21% increase in Invoice Finance funds advanced to large Irish businesses during Q2 2016. Companies registering a turnover of between €10 million and €25 million increased their borrowing through invoice finance by 21% during the second quarter of 2016, according to new figures from the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA). ABFA also found that larger companies were advanced €138 million during Q2 2016, compared to €114 million in Q1, making it the fastest growing size of companies in Ireland who utilised invoice finance during the period. To read ABFA's news release go to
UK businesses across nearly every sector of the economy show positive signs of stability following the EU Referendum. According to Begbies Traynor's Red Flag Alert research for Q3 2016, in the three months following the EU Referendum levels of ‘Significant’ distress fell by 6% (to 248,916 companies). 92% of these companies were SMEs. Meanwhile, year-on-year, the number of UK businesses suffering ‘Significant’ financial distress fell 2% across the economy as a whole. According to the research, the most marked improvement in financial health during Q3 2016 was within the UK construction sector, where the number of companies experiencing ‘Significant’ distress fell by 11% to 28,917 (Q2 2016: 32,311 companies). To read Begbies Traynor's news release go to
Export prospects on the up for UK SMEs. Business optimism has edged higher for the UK’s SME manufacturers over the past quarter, and sentiment regarding export prospects for the year ahead has risen strongly, according to the latest CBI Quarterly SME trends survey. The survey reported that total new orders edged up slightly in the three months to October, output rose modestly and exports orders were flat on the quarter (although this marked the first time that they had not fallen since mid-2014). Looking ahead, robust growth in export orders is anticipated over the next three months, with expected growth the strongest since the data series began (in October 1988). To read the CBI's news release go to
UK SMEs yet to see impact of Brexit vote. The latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey of the attitudes and priorities of SMEs across the UK, reveals that 73% of firms have seen no effect at all on the performance of their businesses since the Brexit vote. SMEs also remain relatively sanguine about the referendum result; only 44% fear the referendum result may see them lose business in the months and years ahead, while 40% are actually anticipating an increase in business. David Thomson, CEO of Close Brothers Invoice Finance and Rentals commented that SMEs were taking their time to assess the longer term impact of Brexit and are considering all their options. “It’s clear that despite the pre-referendum warnings, there has not been any calamitous impact on SMEs from the UK’s vote to leave,” he said. “However, SMEs are not complacent and are acutely conscious of the need to monitor both threats and opportunities that may yet come from Brexit.” To read Close Brother's news release go to
Brexit uncertainty puts the brake on London businesses. New research from Begbies Traynor reveals that British businesses have shown surprising resilience since the EU Referendum result was announced, with levels of financial distress falling across every region of the UK over the past three months. However, the research also shows that one of the slowest rates of improvement of any region has been within the capital’s business community, suggesting that London could be experiencing a period of stagnation while businesses await confirmation on whether the UK will choose a soft or hard Brexit. Julie Palmer, Partner at Begbies Traynor, commented: “Our data shows that the brakes are being gently applied to the London economy, while the rest of the country speeds ahead." To read Begbies Traynor's news release go to
Two-thirds of business rescues through Administration fail. Using the analytics function at financial evaluation experts Company Watch, Opus Restructuring has examined the outcomes of all Administration cases in England and Wales, which commenced in the past five years and confirmed that 70% of the attempted rescues failed to save the business on a long-term basis. Nick Hood, Business Risk Adviser at Opus Restructuring, said: “Our research shows that, at best, around only 30% of business rescue attempts through the Administration process are successful. It’s a disappointing result, which reflects the endemic, ostrich-like behaviour of struggling entrepreneurs who wait far too long before admitting they have problems." To read Opus Business Services' news release and access the report go to
UK SME manufacturing companies forced to hold onto nearly £5 billion in unsold stock. The value of the unsold stock held by SME manufacturing companies has risen to £4.94 billion, putting cash flow under greater strain, reveals research by the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA). The ABFA notes that this figure is up from £4.87 billion last year, with the value tied up in unsold stock remaining stubbornly high over the last five years despite hopes that the fragile economic recovery would allow businesses to clear unsold stock. The value of this inventory currently amounts to 16% of the £81 billion annual turnover of SME manufacturers. To read ABFA's news release go to
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