Welcome to the May 2021 issue of Credit Management News Digest. This issue is sponsored by LiquidX.

PLUS: This month's featured article,  Digital Trade Credit Insurance — Time to Think Big
by Todd Lynady, Managing Director and Global Head of Insurance Sales and Business Development at LiquidX.
UK Late Payment, Business Distress & Insolvencies
UK SMEs were owed £130,000 on average in late payments. The Credit Protection Association (CPA) has reported that a survey by Dun & Bradstreet suggests that small businesses in the UK are owed, on average, £130,445.05 in late payments. Furthermore, D&B found that in 2020 over a fifth of invoices owed to SMEs — whether the creditor was large or small/private or public sector — were paid late. As a result, 23% (almost double the number in 2019) of small business owners have had to use their own personal savings or assets to cover the shortfall of late payments. Analysis of Dun & Bradstreet trade payment data also showed a marked decrease in prompt payment performance since the first lockdown in March 2020, with the percentage of UK businesses paying bills on time down from 47.3% in March to 41.8% in December 2020. Almost six in ten SMEs (58%) feel companies should be penalised financially if they pay late and that the Government should be implementing stronger sanctions to that effect. To read the CPA's news release go to https://cpa.co.uk/late-payments-rise/.
Almost 100,000 additional UK businesses were in significant financial distress in Q1 2021. The latest Red Flag Alert research for Q1 2021 has recorded a 15% increase (to 723,000) in businesses in ‘significant' financial distress, after the largest numerical quarterly leap (93,000) recorded by the research. The research also found that there has been a 42% increase (to 723,000) in the number of significantly distressed companies since Q1 2020, with financial distress in the transportation and logistics sector increasing by 56%, the real estate and property services sector increasing by 51%, the financial services sector by 50%, and the construction sector by 47%. In fact, every one of the 22 sectors monitored exhibited an increase in significant financial distress, with 19 sectors experiencing double-digit increases. To read Begbies Traynor's news release go to https://www.begbies-traynorgroup.com/news/business-health-statistics/highest-quarterly-leap-recorded-by-red-flag-alert-as-almost-100000-additional-businesses-drop-into-significant-financial-distress-in-q1-2021.
Between 1% and 4% of companies in the UK have been ‘zombified’ since the start of the pandemic. ICAEW has warned that there have been a high proportion of zombie companies in the UK for some time, and the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the perfect environment to create more. According to a report by Onward and cited by ICAEW, between 1% and 4% of companies have been ‘zombified’ since the start of the pandemic, bringing the total number in the UK to more than 20%. Part of the problem, commented Alessandro Sidoli, insolvency practitioner for Kay Johnson Gee LLP, is that issuing winding-up petitions for these companies is a lengthy and costly process, which might not be viable for HMRC to pursue. He also noted that COVID-19 has reset the clock for many existing zombie companies. "Any pressure they were under from HMRC or creditors has been eased as the focus has shifted onto relief measures." To read ICAEW's article go to https://www.icaew.com/insights/viewpoints-on-the-news/2021/april-2021/business-rescue-are-zombie-companies-on-the-rise.
The lowest number of Q1 profit warnings in 20 years disguises the challenging outlook for UK businesses. According to EY-Parthenon’s latest Profit Warnings report, a total of 64 listed companies have issued at least their third profit warning in a 12-month period since the start of March 2020. However, none of these companies has entered administration, in contrast to the 15-20% figure EY-Parthenon says it would normally expect to see doing so within a year of their third warning. EY-Parthenon notes that its analysis demonstrates that government support, combined with a moratorium on winding-up petitions, has significantly reduced corporate insolvencies over the course of the pandemic. More than 6,000 extra companies would have entered an insolvency procedure by this point if insolvency levels had continued on the same trajectory as pre-March 2020. To read EY's news release go to https://www.ey.com/en_uk/news/2021/05/lowest-number-of-q1-profit-warnings-in-20-years-disguises-the-challenging-outlook-for-uk-businesses-says-ey-parthenon.
54% of UK SMEs need cash to survive – and over half are banking on the Recovery Loan Scheme. A survey of UK SME business owners and directors by Purbeck Personal Guarantee Insurance has found that over half will seek new finance in 2021. 54% of these businesses plan to use the newly launched Recovery Loan Scheme to help their business’s cashflow, with 22% planning to borrow over £250,000 through the scheme, becoming Personal Guarantors for the loan in the process. Todd Davison, Managing Director for Purbeck Personal Guarantee Insurance, said: “Almost half of the businesses in need of cash are planning to apply for the Recovery Loan Scheme, but at this stage, the number of lenders is limited, and we know the qualifying criteria is much tougher than the BBL or CBIL scheme so the success rate for applicants could be poor." Click here to read Purbeck's news release.
The number of profit warnings issued by UK listed companies fell by almost 70% in the first month of 2021. Despite some recent high-profile warnings on profits (recent notable names include McBride Plc, Jet2 Plc, Meggitt Plc, and AIG Limited), new figures released by InfolinkGazette indicate that 2021 has seen the sharpest fall in the number of profit warnings ever recorded. In the first four months of 2021, the number of profit warnings issued by UK listed companies was down from 404 in the first four months of 2020 to 122, a fall of almost 70%. However, as Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, cautioned: “the spectacular fall shouldn’t be interpreted as resilience in the face of the COVID-19 crisis; many listed companies simply suspended issuing guidance after the first couple of profit warnings”. To read InfolinkGazette's news release go to https://www.infolinkgazette.com/?pid=6.
UK corporate insolvencies In Q1 2021 were 38% lower than the same period a year ago. The Insolvency Service has reported that there were 2,384 UK company insolvencies registered in Q1 2021, 2% lower than the number of company insolvencies registered in the previous quarter and 38% lower than during the same quarter in 2020. The overall decrease in company insolvencies was mainly driven by a drop in Creditors Voluntary Liquidation (86% of all company insolvencies), which were 24% lower than during the same quarter last year. Colin Haig, President of R3 and Head of Restructuring at Azets, commented: "It's clear Government's support measures are still helping to keep businesses going, but they have pushed back rather than prevented the financial pain of the pandemic from translating into a sharp, sustained increase in corporate insolvencies." To read R3's news release go to https://www.r3.org.uk/press-policy-and-research/news/more/29849/page/1//.
UK Economy & Trade Sectors
UK growth prospects are significantly brighter in 2021. The UK’s economic growth prospects for 2021 have been significantly upgraded in the EY ITEM Club’s Spring Forecast. The EY ITEM Club now expects the economy to grow 6.8% this year rather than the 5.0% growth expected in January. The improved near-term outlook means the UK economy is expected to regain its pre-COVID-19 peak in the second quarter of 2022 — an improvement from January’s forecast of the third quarter of 2022, and a further improvement on the 2023 and 2024 dates predicted previously. The EY ITEM Club now believes that GDP contracted by just over 1% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter of 2021, rather than the 3-4% contraction expected in January’s Winter Forecast. To read EY's news release go to https://www.ey.com/en_uk/news/2021/04/uk-growth-prospects-significantly-brighter-as-ey-item-club-publishes-upgraded-economic-forecast.
The UK economy held up better than expected in the first quarter. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported that UK GDP is estimated to have grown by 2.1% in March 2021, the fastest monthly growth since August 2020 and a modest contraction than was generally expected given that the country was in lockdown. March’s GDP is 5.9% below the levels seen in February 2020 and 1.1% below the initial recovery peak in October 2020. Commenting on the data Rupert Thompson, Chief Investment Officer at Kingswood, said: “The UK economy held up better than expected during lockdown in the first quarter. GDP posted a 1.5% drop over the quarter as a whole but encouragingly grew a larger-than-expected 2.1% in March as the economy started to reopen. These numbers will bolster hopes that the economy will achieve the 7.25% growth forecast by the Bank of England — the fastest growth in seventy years." To read the ONS' news release go to https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/bulletins/gdpmonthlyestimateuk/march2021.
UK GDP growth revised up in 2021. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has advised that its central forecast for UK economic growth in 2021 has been revised up to 5.7%, compared to 3.4% in February, with 4.5% growth forecast for 2022. The significant upward revision reflects a better-than-expected first quarter, greater resilience to further lockdowns, and the large rise in COVID-related public spending in the 2021-22 fiscal year announced in the March Budget. However, NIESR also notes that the UK's COVID-19 performance has created a greater permanent economic cost for the UK than other major economies. Furthermore, the size of the economic contraction means that the level of GDP is predicted to be nearly 4% lower in 2025 than NIESR had forecast it to be before the COVID-19 pandemic. To read NIESR's news release go to https://www.niesr.ac.uk/media/niesr-press-release-uk-economic-outlook-uk-gdp-growth-revised-2021-unemployment-will-still.
The UK looks set for a stronger economic recovery than previously expected. The Bank of England's latest Monetary Policy (MPC) Report for May 2021 has advised that UK GDP is now believed to have fallen by around 1.5% in 2021 Q1, to around 9% below its 2019 Q4 pre-pandemic level. This fall is much less sharp than expected three months ago as the impact of restrictions on activity appears smaller than anticipated. The Bank's MPC’s central forecast is now that UK GDP will recover strongly over 2021 and recover to pre-pandemic levels through the remainder of the year, boosted by a decline in health risks and a fall in uncertainty, as well as fiscal and monetary stimulus. Further out, the MOC expects that the pace of GDP growth will slow as the boost from these factors wanes. To read the MPC's report go to https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/monetary-policy-summary-and-minutes/2021/may-2021.pdf.
Business leaders suggest that the UK is facing a two-year recovery. Global Banking & Finance Review has reported that according to a survey conducted by Kroll, UK business leaders believe that it will take longer than the government predicts for the UK to get out of lockdown and the economy to bounce back to its pre-pandemic level. 72% of Kroll's respondents thought it would take between two to five years to see the economy return to the same level as 2019. Of those respondents, 61% stated it would take two years, and a further 11% stated it would take up to five. 32% were not confident the UK would see the green shoots of recovery at all in 2021. To read Global Banking & Finance Review's article go to https://www.globalbankingandfinance.com/we-are-facing-a-two-year-recovery-according-to-corporate-britain/.
The UK economy is set for the fastest rebound in history. The Institute of Export (IoE) has reported that forecasters (including Deloitte, EY and the Bank of England) predict that the UK could be on course for its fastest economic bounce back on record. For example, the IoE notes that the EY Item Club has upgraded its 2021 growth forecast from 5% to 6.8% — the fastest growth rate recorded since Office for National Statistics records began. EY also suggests that the UK economy will rebound to its Q4 2019 level in Q2 2022, three months earlier than previously forecast. The predictions are in line with the IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index for April, which rose to 60. Any figure above 50 indicates expansion. To read the IoE's news release go to https://www.export.org.uk/news/562548/UK-economy-set-for-fastest-rebound-in-history--as-predicted-by-Deloitte-EY-and-the-Bank-of-England.htm.
Expectations for UK private sector growth improve further. The CBI's latest Growth Indicator indicates that private sector activity is expected to grow strongly in the next three months (balance of +32% from +24% last month), marking the strongest predictions for growth since June 2015. Expectations among business & professional services firms (+48%) and manufacturers (+36%) are at their strongest since April 2014 and March 2017, respectively. Alpesh Paleja, CBI Lead Economist, commented: “Economic growth appears to be poised for lift-off over the summer. But this is a recovery that will be felt differently across sectors: while the outlook has improved considerably across the business & professional services and manufacturing sectors, consumer-facing firms seem to anticipate trouble in getting off the ground." To read the CBI's news release go to https://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/articles/expectations-for-private-sector-growth-improve-further-cbi-growth-indicator/.
UK small business growth forecasts hit a two-year high. Small business growth forecasts have finally returned to pre-COVID levels — with London, the South East and Yorkshire driving resurgent small business confidence for the next three months. The new research findings from the quarterly Business Barometer by Hitachi Capital Business Finance reveal that the percentage of small business owners predicting growth has soared from 26% to 36% since January — the highest quarter-on-quarter rise for four years. The latest figures suggest that the significant progress of the COVID vaccination programme — together with the easing of social restrictions — has profoundly impacted small business confidence. To read Hitachi Capital's news release go to https://www.hitachicapital.co.uk/news-media/small-business-growth-forecasts-hit-two-year-high/.
40% of UK exporters report decreased export sales in Q1 2021. The British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) Trade Confidence Outlook for Q1 has revealed the "stark issues" facing UK exporters in the first months of this year. Overall, the percentage of firms reporting decreased export sales increased to 41%, up from 38% in the previous quarter. Hotels and catering firms and retail and wholesale firms were the worst hit, with 81% and 60% of respondents respectively reporting a decrease in export sales this quarter. Respondents cited Brexit and the impact of COVID-19 as the biggest causes of problems in trade, with many seeing the problems they were facing as structural in nature rather than short-term issues likely to alleviate as companies adjusted to the changes in the UK-EU trading relationship. To read the BCC's news release go to https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/news/2021/04/four-in-ten-uk-exporters-reporting-decreased-sales-in-q1-2021.
UK Fashion and lifestyle hit record highs thanks to reopening euphoria. New figures from BDO LLP reveal that in April, UK retailers reported record results across fashion, lifestyle and homeware, as well as sustained growth of online. According to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker, non-store like for like sales grew by +28.2% in April from a base of +109.6% last year, "a remarkable result given last year’s record increase in online spending during the first nationwide lockdown." In addition, total like-for-like sales, both in-store and non-store, increased sixfold in April, albeit though from a weak base of -29.6% for the equivalent month last year. All three sectors recorded positive results with lifestyle and fashion "staging impressive comebacks." Fashion total like-for-like sales surged by +84.2%, though from a base of -31.4% for April last year. Lifestyle total like-for-like sales soared by +64.3% in April, but from a base of -40.1%. To read BDO's news release go to https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/news/2021/fashion-and-lifestyle-hit-record-highs-thanks-to-reopening-euphoria.
One is seven UK shop fronts lie empty, with 5,000 fewer stores than at the start of the pandemic. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has reported that in the first quarter of 2021, the overall UK vacancy rate increased to 14.1%, from 13.7% in Q4 2020, and was 1.9% higher than at the same point in 2020. This marks three years of increasing vacancy rates. Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, commented: “After a third national lockdown, it is no surprise that the vacancy rate has continued to soar. The forced closure of thousands of shops during the first quarter of 2021 has exacerbated already difficult conditions for the retail industry. We estimate there are around 5,000 fewer stores since the start of the pandemic, meaning 1 in 7 shops now lie empty. . . Shopping centres, many of which have been forced to close for a large portion of this pandemic, have fared worse than other retail locations, with over 12% of units lying empty for a year or more." To read the BRC's news release go to https://brc.org.uk/news/corporate-affairs/empty-shop-fronts-continue-to-soar/.
UK manufacturing outlook brightens. According to the latest CBI quarterly Industrial Trends Survey, UK manufacturing optimism in Q1 2021 improved at its quickest pace since April 1973, while investment intentions saw a strong, broad-based rebound. The survey found that firms expect to increase capital expenditure on buildings, plant & machinery, product & process innovation, and training & retraining in the next year (relative to the last). In particular, investment intentions for plant & machinery were at their strongest since July 1997. Although manufacturing output was broadly flat in the quarter, total new orders grew at the quickest pace since April 2019. Both output and orders growth are expected to pick up rapidly in the next quarter. Domestic orders also grew at their fastest pace since July 2018, and firms anticipate this will improve further. Meanwhile, export optimism for the year ahead strengthened after a successive decline for almost three years. To read the CBI's news release go to https://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/articles/manufacturing-outlook-brightens-cbi-quarterly-industrial-trends-survey/.
UK CFOs gear up for a stronger recovery. Deloitte’s latest UK CFO Survey Q1 2021 has reported that UK CFOs anticipate a strong recovery in profits over the next twelve months, with profit expectations back to the previous high seen in mid-2014 at the top of the economic cycle. Furthermore, although close to 10% of the surveyed CFOs have experienced significant or severe disruption to their businesses due to Brexit, almost all believe that such disruptions will fade, with only 3% expecting significant or severe levels of disruption in a year’s time. Dan Stewart, Deloitte’s chief economist, commented: “Brexit has been a significant dampener on business activity in the last four years, but with the UK’s final departure from the EU such effects are fading. Combined with a successful vaccine rollout and a greatly improved global backdrop, we are seeing a turbo-charged surge in business optimism." To read Deloitte's news release go to https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/press-releases/articles/uk-cfos-gear-up-or-a-stronger-recovery-as-business-sentiment-hits-new-high.html.
UK tech start-ups increased by 13% in 2020. According to new analysis by RSMUK, there were 14,301 tech businesses incorporated in 2020, a 13% increase compared with 12,696 in 2019. The biggest regional percentage increase of 40% was recorded in the West Midlands as tech start-ups increased from 585 to 821, followed by London at 24%, Scotland at 12%, and Northern Ireland at 10%. However, the data also revealed distinctions between UK regions as Wales and Yorkshire and the Humber saw a decrease of 6%, the North West slipped by 5%, and the South East and South West decreased by 5% and 1% respectively. Commenting on the findings, David Blacher, head of RSM’s technology and media team, said: " ‘In 2020, the UK attracted US$15 billion in investment and sits third internationally for tech incubations." To read RSMUK's news release go to https://www.rsmuk.com/news/uk-tech-start-ups-increase-by-13-per-cent.
Global Economy & Business
The European economy contracted by 1.8% less than predicted in October 2020. The IMF's latest Regional Outlook for Europe has reported that the exceptional policy response helped protect the structure of the European economy and led to Europe’s activity contracting by 5.2% in 2020 — 1.8% less than forecast in October’s World Economic Outlook. In 2021, Europe’s GDP is expected to rebound by 4.5% — 0.2% less than forecast in October 2020, reflecting the new COVID-19 waves and lockdowns. Spain and France will experience the best rebound in the euro area, with GDP growth of 6.4% and 5.8%, respectively. Looking ahead, with the assumption that vaccines become widely available in the summer of 2021 and throughout 2022, the IMF predicts GDP growth of 3.9% in 2022, bringing Europe’s GDP back to pre-pandemic levels. For the UK, the IMF predicts GDP growth of 5.3% in 2021 and 5.1% in 2022. For a link to the IMF's report go to https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/REO/EU/Issues/2021/04/12/regional-economic-outlook-for-europe.
Vaccines and US fiscal boost raise global growth prospects. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) latest research indicates that global economic activity has rebounded from a sharp fall in the first half of last year, although the continuation and pace of the global recovery are highly dependent on the evolution of the virus and the coverage of vaccinations. As a result, NIESR has raised its forecast for global GDP growth this year from 4.5% to 5.5% and, for 2022, now projects GDP growth of 4.25% (up from 3.75%). The pace of economic recovery will differ across economies. GDP in the US is now expected to reach its pre-pandemic level this year, while GDP in the Euro Area is forecast to remain below its pre-pandemic level until late 2022. In contrast, GDP in China is already 8% above its level at the end of 2019. To read NIESR's news release go to https://www.niesr.ac.uk/media/niesr-press-release-global-economic-outlook-vaccines-and-us-fiscal-boost-raise-global-growth.
The Eurozone fell into a double-dip recession in Q1 2021. According to preliminary estimates published by Eurostat, in the first quarter of 2021, GDP decreased by 0.6% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU, compared with the previous quarter. These declines follow falls in Q4 2020 (-0.7% in the euro area and -0.5% in the EU) after a strong rebound in Q3 (+12.5% in the euro area and +11.7% in the EU) and the sharpest decreases since the time series started in 1995 observed in Q2 (-11.6% in the euro area and -11.2% in the EU). Compared with the same quarter in 2020, GDP decreased by 1.8% in the euro area and by 1.7% in the EU in the first quarter of 2021. Among the Member States for which data are available for the first quarter of 2021, Portugal (-3.3%) recorded the highest decrease compared to the previous quarter, followed by Latvia (-2.6%) and Germany (-1.7%), while Lithuania (+1.8%) and Sweden (+1.1%) recorded the highest increases. To read Eurostat's news release go to https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/11563071/2-30042021-BP-EN.pdf/bf5d61eb-d36f-7fb4-97c8-a9ac2ae134cc?t=1619776447550.
The US looks set to take over China's role as the growth engine of the world economy. Euler Hermes Global Insurance Report 2021 notes that while China was the growth engine of the world economy in 2020 (i.e. the only big economy that grew at all), the US will take over this role in 2021. Global GDP is expected to rebound by +5.1% in 2021, with more than one-fourth of the recovery being driven by the US. Then, in 2022, world GDP growth should reach +4%. Although Europe remains the "recovery laggard" compared to other economic heavyweights, Euler Hermes expects the European economy to change from a double-dip recession at the start of 2021 to a consumption-led catch-up growth spurt in the second half of the year. All in all, Euler Hermes predicts that Eurozone GDP will expand by +4.0% in both 2021 and 2022, which means that the Eurozone economy is set to recover to pre-crisis GDP levels only in H1 2022 — almost a full year after the US. To read Euler Hermes' report go to https://www.eulerhermes.com/en_global/news-insights/economic-insights/Allianz-Global-Insurance-Report2021-Bruised-but-not-broken.html.
A condensed view of country risk assessments published by Atradius, Coface, Credimundi and Euler Hermes. AU Group has released its latest AU 'G Grade' for Q2 2021. The AU 'G-Grade' is based on the individual assessment of a country by each of the four main trade credit insurers and is calculated according to the real risk taken by these major insurers collectively. Also, the IMF Statistics Department's seven key indicators give a view of the key trends and the level of risk per country. This issue notes that there is now "light at the end of the tunnel" for some countries (China, US, UAE, UK). For the UK, for example, after a -9.9% recession in 2020 (according to the IMF), a rebound in growth is expected for 2021 (+5.3%) and 2022 (+5.1%), as the health situation gradually improves. To download the latest 'G Grade' go to https://www.au-group.com/new-trends-in-country-risks-au-g-grade-q2-2021/.
Failure to act on climate change could wipe 18% off global GDP by 2050. Reinsurance News has reported that according to a stress-test analysis by Swiss Re Institute, failure to take appropriate action against the impacts of climate change poses a significant threat to the global economy, with GDP potentially shrinking by as much as 18% over the next three decades if no preventive measures are taken. Swiss Re's analysis indicated that In the most severe scenario, in which global temperatures rise by 3.2°C, China could lose roughly 24% of its GDP by 2050, while the US, Canada and the UK would all experience a loss of around 10%. In total, Europe’s GDP would shrink by 11%. Alternatively, if some mitigating actions are taken, resulting in global temperatures rising by 2.6°C, the global economy could shrink by 14% over the same period. Further actions, resulting in a 2°C increase, would limit GDP contraction to 11% over the next 30 years. To read Reinsurance News' article go to https://www.reinsurancene.ws/failure-to-act-on-climate-change-could-wipe-18-off-global-gdp-by-2050-swiss-re/.
The US leads the global recovery. Coface's latest Barometer forecasts that although global economic trends are uneven due to uncertainties around the spread of COVID-19 and the speed of vaccine rollout, thanks to stronger than expected growth in the US,  the economic recovery will gain momentum from the Summer of 2021. As a result, Coface has raised its global growth forecast upwards by half a point (+5.1% for 2021) and has upgraded 35 sectors of activity against only 3 downgrades. In addition to the US, Coface predicts that several other sectors of the world economy are likely to return to their pre-crisis level of activity by the Summer. Less positively, Coface believes that the eurozone is unlikely to return to its pre-crisis GDP level before 2022, and notes that, despite the stabilising effect of government aid, the financial health of companies in the eurozone deteriorated significantly in 2020. To read Coface's news release go to https://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Coface-Barometer-Q1-2021-US-leads-the-global-recovery-emerging-economies-lag-behind.
US corporate bankruptcies slow again in early April.  According to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, eighteen US companies entered bankruptcy proceedings in the first half of April, well behind the 31 recorded in early March and the monthly total of 61. The figures include public companies or private companies with public debt with a minimum of US$2 million in assets or liabilities at the time of filing, in addition to private companies with at least US$10 million in assets or liabilities. As of 15 April, 155 companies have announced bankruptcies so far in 2021. That is fewer than the 180 filings at the same point in 2020 and a slower pace than all but three of the prior 11 years — 2014, 2015 and 2018. To read S&P Global's news release go to https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/blog/market-dynamics-of-the-energy-transition.
Atradius publishes new country reports on Chile, the UAE and Morocco.
  • For Chile, Atradius notes that GDP in 2020 contracted by 6% due to the negative impact of adverse weather conditions on mining, the US-China trade war, ongoing social unrest and the Coronavirus pandemic. However, a rebound has started since Q3 of 2020, and in 2021, the economy is forecast to grow strongly by 7%, helped by a fast vaccination rollout. 
  •  For UAE, After a deep 7% GDP contraction in 2020, Atradius reports that the economy is on its path to recovery. In 2021, GDP is forecast to increase by about 1%, but it could grow even higher, by about 3%, depending on the speed of domestic and global vaccination rollout and the subsequent containment of the coronavirus. 
  • For Morocco, Atradius advises that with a 7% GDP contraction in 2020, the Moroccan economy was hard hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. This year, the economy is forecast to rebound by about 5%, contingent on the gradual easing of lockdown measures, an effective vaccine rollout in H2 of 2021 and more benign weather conditions supporting agriculture performance. However, a major factor determining the pace of the rebound will be the scope of recovery in Europe, Morocco’s main export market.
To read Atradius' Country Reports go to https://atradius.co.uk/publication-search/.
Try Eurostat's quiz. Eurostat's fun quiz is designed to test and increase your knowledge of the EU and its Member States. The questions are organised in different statistical themes, including economy and finance, international trade, industry, trade and services. The quiz must be completed in three minutes. However, the more you know and the faster you reply to the multiple-choice questions, the more points you can earn. When you finish, you will be able to compare your score with that of other participants. Eurostat's quiz is available in 23 European languages. To play the game go to https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/cache/quiz/?lang=en.
Events & Professional Development
GTR East Africa 2021 Virtual. 12-13 May 2021.
Following the success of the inaugural virtual event in October 2020, GTR East Africa will return once again in a digital form for 2021, taking place on May 12-13, 2021. Utilising GTR’s bespoke virtual event platform, this online gathering promises expansive networking and an extensive and comprehensive programme of live and on-demand content, welcoming the leading practitioners in trade, agribusiness, supply chain and commodity finance. Join industry experts from across the region to explore the latest developments, strategies and solutions employed to drive East African trade growth. LINK: https://bit.ly/3gphJ0x.
Receivables Finance International Convention, 18th – 20th May 2021 - Virtual.
BCR’s 21st annual Receivables Finance International Convention provides an essential update on the latest invoice financing trends, market challenges and innovations.
The receivables finance sector continues to evolve rapidly. Covid-19 has meant a significant shift in market attitudes. Some of these will be permanent; some will disappear over time. Many expect a rapid rise in receivables finance business coming out of the pandemic as government-imposed restrictions are eased. But navigating to that point could be tricky as the financial support provided by governments will expose many SMEs to terminal positions.
RFIx 2021 will take a deep dive into the impact of the pandemic and global geopolitics on market trends and risk. It will explore how practitioners can become fitter, leaner, and better in this new world through innovative product development, technology and new markets, and discover the new challenges around ESG, regulatory and legal issues.
This flagship event for the receivables finance industry attracts delegates from across the globe, bringing together both market experts and new entrants. Being a virtual event, it provides a chance to network with an even wider circle of industry peers.
Join senior receivables finance executives at the 21st annual RFIx Convention and ensure the right direction for your business.
As event partners, Credit Insurance News can offer members a 25% discount on a delegate pass rate. To register please follow this link. The member discount code is rfix21-med.
Alternatively, you can contact yongmei.he@bcrpub.com quoting your discount code for payment via invoice
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: LiquidX
LiquidX: The Best Tech in Fintech
LiquidX provides technology solutions to financial institutions, corporations, and insurers for automating and optimizing working capital, trade finance, and trade credit insurance. Our industry-leading technology solutions cover the entire financial supply chain through two interoperable platforms: InBlock for order and invoice automation, and LiquidX 360 for financing and insurance. LiquidX incorporates blockchain technology and machine learning analytics to greatly enhance transparency, reporting, and forecasting for financial professionals.
LiquidX is a first mover in the digital transformation of Trade Credit Insurance, completely changing how Trade Credit Insurance is purchased and managed. Our solutions for automated quoting and digital policy management improve access to coverage, enhance compliance, and provide transparency by connecting all participants.
The company is headquartered in New York with offices in Boston, London, and Singapore. Broadridge, an investment grade fintech leader, is LiquidX’s strategic operational services provider and largest committed investor, ensuring the company’s growth for years to come.
To learn more about our next-generation solutions please visit liquidx.com.
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