Welcome to the January 2023 issue of Credit Management News Digest. 
This month's issue is sponsored by Nexus Trade Credit.

UK Late Payment & Insolvencies
Big UK firms must be penalised appropriately for late payment. Purbeck Personal Guarantee Insurance has welcomed the UK Government's review into the late payment practices of big firms but is calling for tougher measures. Recent research by the personal guarantee insurance provider found that rather than planning for growth, 52% of small firms are just focused on 'keeping on an even keel' in the year ahead. The East Midlands is the worst impacted, with just 28% of small firms planning for growth compared to 43% in the South East and 40% in London and East Anglia. Todd Davison, MD of Purbeck Personal Guarantee Insurance, said: "Big firms need to find more ethical ways of managing their own cashflows rather than taking the easy route of delaying payment to the time it suits them, rather than the time stipulated by their supplier." To read Purbeck's news release go to https://www.purbeckinsurance.co.uk/blog/late-payment-problems-for-smes.
Only 5% of UK companies receive a 'Fast Payer Award'. Good Business Pays has revealed the 270 companies to be awarded its 2022 'Fast Payer Award', which recognises those who have demonstrated the best payment performance to their suppliers over the past year. The winners cover almost all industry sectors and regions of the UK. Previous data from Good Business Pays showed that FTSE 350 companies are taking on average 37 days to pay their suppliers — with well-known companies such as Diageo, Coca Cola and Rolls Royce amongst the slowest to settle invoices. Terry Corby, CEO of Good Business Pays CIC, commented: "It's heartening to see there are still good businesses like those in our Fast-Payer list. They are key to helping ensure the health of our small business economy." To see the full list of Fast Paying companies, visit Fast Payer Awards 2022, Good Business Pays at https://goodbusinesspays.com/fast-payer-awards-2022/.
UK construction faces a "perfect storm" for insolvencies. Construction Enquirer has reported that UK construction is facing a challenging year ahead, with over 6,000 company insolvencies expected in 2023. Financial experts at Red Flag Alert fear more than 100 building firms will go bust every week as the total number of insolvencies across all sectors hits 32,000 this year. Red Flag Alert also estimates there is roughly £300 million in bad debt within the UK construction industry as we enter 2023,which could increase to £1 billion by the start of 2024. The financial experts warn that companies who would just keep their heads above water through this recession are being dragged under by the bad debt left behind by those who fail. To read Construction Enquirer's article go to https://www.constructionenquirer.com/2023/01/03/construction-faces-perfect-storm-for-insolvencies/?.
UK construction sector insolvencies hit a record high. Company Rescue has reported that the latest data from the Insolvency Service indicates that businesses within the construction sector are going bust at the fastest rate in a decade and the number of company insolvencies overall reached a 13-year high in Q2. Data found that for the first half of the year there were 10,717 company insolvencies — of which the construction sector accounted for a fifth (2,094 insolvencies). Construction firms, which make up 7% of the UK economy, are being hit by rising material costs, staff shortages and falling consumer demand. To read Company Rescue's news release go to https://www.companyrescue.co.uk/guides-knowledge/news/construction-sector-insolvencies-hit-a-record-high-4834/.
UK corporate insolvencies were 34.8% higher in November compared to the same month in 2019. The latest data from the Insolvency Service has found that UK corporate insolvencies increased by 4.2% in November 2022 to a total of 2,029 (compared to October's total of 1,948) and increased by 34.8% (compared to November 2019's total of 1,505). The rise in corporate insolvency numbers was mainly driven by an increase in Compulsory Liquidations, although Creditor Voluntary Liquidations and Administration numbers also increased. Christina Fitzgerald, President of R3, commented: "What we're seeing here is a perfect storm of creditors pursuing unpaid debts and directors choosing to close down their businesses — either before this choice is taken away from them or because they have simply run out of road." To read R3's news release go to https://www.r3.org.uk/press-policy-and-research/news/more/31456/page/1//.
UK Economy 
The UK economy shrank by more than first thought in Q3. According to the latest data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), UK GDP is estimated to have fallen by a revised 0.3% in quarter 3 2022 compared with a previous estimate of 0.2%. The ONS also said the UK economy grew less than previously estimated in the year's first half — expanding by 0.6% (Instead of 0.7%) in the first quarter and 0.1% (instead of 0.2%) in the second quarter. Furthermore, despite an upward revision to annual growth in 2021, downward revisions across the quarters of 2022 mean that GDP is now estimated to be 0.8% below its COVID-19 pandemic level, revised from the ONS' previous estimate of 0.4% below. To read the ONS' news release go to https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/bulletins/quarterlynationalaccounts/julytoseptember2022.
The impact of Brexit on the UK economy. The Center for European Reform (CER) has estimated that Brexit had reduced the UK's GDP by 5.5% by the second quarter of 2022. John Springford, Deputy Director of the Centre for European Reform, noted that this estimate is based on the 'doppelgänger' method, in which an algorithm selects countries whose economic performance closely matches the UK's before Brexit. The CER's research also indicates that, as shortfalls in GDP and investment are around the same as the estimates for Q4 2021, the impact of COVID-19 is not substantively affecting the results. To read the CER's report go to https://www.cer.eu/insights/cost-brexit-june-2022.
71% of UK businesses are ready for a recession. Recent research by RSM UK suggests that 71% of UK businesses are feeling resilient despite the exceptionally tough economic outlook. However, while businesses seem confident in their ability to navigate the economic headwinds, RSM's research showed that 44% now feel rising energy prices present their biggest risk, while the increased cost of finance and rising staffing costs are equally viewed as their second biggest. Supply chain disruption also continues to be considered a threat by 28% of businesses. The research also showed that although many UK businesses are looking to access finance to weather the recessionary storm ahead or maximise opportunities such as acquisitions of struggling companies, more than a quarter want to access finance to address concerns over breaking existing covenants, suggesting they are at risk of defaulting on their financing obligations. To read RSM UK's news release go to https://www.rsmuk.com/news/the-real-economy-71-percent-of-businesses-ready-for-recession.
The UK economy is set to experience the deepest recession amongst large economies. According to Allianz Trade, the UK economy is forecast to fall into a recession in 2023, before finding a weak recovery of 0.7% in 2024. Allianz Trade predicts that the UK economy will shrink by -0.9% in 2023 — the deepest recession amongst large economies — compared to just -0.3% for the USA, and -0.4% across the Eurozone. In comparison, global GDP will grow by +1.9%. Furthermore, Allianz Trade notes that, along with Spain, the UK is leading the rebound in business insolvencies in Europe, with business insolvencies expected to increase by +51% in 2022, and by +15% in 2023. "The climb in insolvencies is driven by a sharp increase in liquidations, suggesting that businesses which were struggling either before or during pandemic lockdowns have simply chosen to close rather than attempt to restructure or sell," said Maxime Darmet, Senior Economist, France the US and UK, Allianz Trade. To read Allianz Trade's news release go to https://www.allianz-trade.com/en_GB/insights/economic-research/uk-insolvency-rates-q3-2022-update.html.
UK Business Confidence & Trade Sectors
No signs of UK business recovery.  The BCC's Quarterly Economic Survey for Q4 2022 shows key UK economic indicators have stabilised at concerningly low levels, following significant declines in Q3. The survey of over 5,600 UK firms — 92% of whom are SMEs — reveals that only 33% of UK firms experienced an increase in sales over the past three months, while 25% of firms reported a decrease in sales and 42% reported no change. Activity in the retail and hospitality sectors remains particularly weak. Both sectors are firmly in 'negative territory', with more firms reporting a decrease in sales than an increase over the past three months. In addition, only 24% of businesses said their cash flow has increased over the last three months, while 30% have seen it decrease, with hospitality firms the least likely to report improvements. To read the BCC's news release go to https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/news/2023/01/no-signs-of-business-recovery-bcc-quarterly-economic-survey-q4-2022.
BRC forecasts low UK sales growth for 2023 overall, with some cause for optimism in the second half of the year. A new analysis by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) suggests that UK retail sales will pick up in the second half of 2023 as inflation slows and consumer confidence improves, with growth of 3.6% to 4.7% compared with 1% to 2.3% in the first half. The analysis also suggests that although food sales growth will fall slightly in the second half of the year, this will be at a slower rate than the anticipated decline in food inflation, meaning falls in volumes will ease over the period. Kris Hamer, Director of Insight at the BRC, commented that the first half of the year is likely to be challenging for households and retailers but "there is cause for optimism in the second half of 2023, when we expect inflation to ease and improving consumer confidence to result in an improvement to sales growth and corresponding volumes." To read the BRC's news release go to https://brc.org.uk/news/corporate-affairs/brc-forecast-low-sales-growth-for-2023.
UK private sector activity has fallen for five consecutive rolling quarters. UK private sector activity continued to fall in the three months to December (balance of -13%), at a slightly faster pace than in the previous month (-7%), according to the CBI's latest Growth Indicator. Private sector activity has now fallen for five consecutive rolling quarters. The faster fall in December was largely due to an accelerated decline in consumer services volumes (-54% from -32% in November), and manufacturing output falling slightly (-9%) after a brief return to growth in November (+18%). Distribution sales also saw a slower decline (-12% from -23% in November) while business and professional services remained stagnant (-1%) for the second successive survey. Martin Sartorius, Principal Economist at the CBI, commented: "The decline in private sector activity over December extends a downward trend that looks set to deepen going into 2023." To read the CBI's news release go to https://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/articles/private-sector-activity-has-fallen-for-five-consecutive-rolling-quarters-cbi-growth-indicator/.
Despite depressing economic forecasts, UK mid-market business leaders are surprisingly optimistic about their growth opportunities. According to data from Grant Thornton UK LLP's latest Business Outlook Tracker, UK mid-market optimism has rebounded across all indicators monitored. The results indicate that UK businesses are confident they can weather this economic downturn: optimism regarding their funding position has risen +23% since October — the highest level recorded since August 2021 — and almost two-thirds (64%) are also confident that they have sufficient working capital to manage the impact of a recession for six months or more. The top concerns for the mid-market heading into 2023 are the rising tax burden and rising interest rates, both of which they feel sufficiently prepared to manage. To read Grant Thornton's news release go to https://www.grantthornton.co.uk/news-centre/gloomy-economic-forecasts-fail-to-dampen-mid-market-christmas-cheer/.
UK retail health continues its slow decline. The health of the UK retail sector continued to decline in the final few months of 2022, as the golden quarter failed to deliver a festive boost for retailers, according to the latest assessment by KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank (RTT) members. According to the RTT, the health of the retail sector fell by a further two points in Q4 22, putting the latest Retail Health Index at 71 points in the final quarter of this year — a drop in Christmas trading not seen since 2011. The fall in demand during the golden quarter made it one of the most challenging Christmases in recent times and was more severe than the two golden quarters of 2021 and 2020, where COVID restrictions confined consumers. Commenting on the quarter, Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, said: "It will be yet another tough year for retail and a case of survival of the fittest, but we expect to see demand increase as 2023 progresses." To read KPMG's news release go to https://home.kpmg/uk/en/home/media/press-releases/2022/12/retail-health-declines.html.
47 UK shops closed every day in 2022 — the highest total for five years. Drapers has reported that around 47 sites shut up shop for the last time every day last year, according to new analysis from The Centre for Retail Research (CRR). The data revealed that 17,145 shops on high streets and other locations across the country closed in 2022. This was up by nearly 50% in 2021 when 11,449 shops shut. The group's survey found that a little over 5,500 of the shops went under because they no longer had the financial viability to trade, while more than 11,600 of them were closed as a larger chain decided to cut its costs. But the researchers found there had been a 56% drop in shops being closed because larger retailers — with 10 or more sites — went out of business. CRR director, Prof Joshua Bamfield, said: "Rather than company failure, rationalisation now seems to be the main driver for closures as retailers continue to reduce their cost base at pace." To read Drapers' article go to https://www.drapersonline.com/news/almost-50-shops-a-week-closed-for-good-in-uk-during-2022.
UK retailers saw better-than-expected trading in discretionary categories in the run-up to Christmas. According to BDO's High Street Sales Tracker, total like-for-like (LFL) sales, combined in-store and online, grew by +9.8% in December from a base of +21.4% for the equivalent month in 2021, extending the trend of positive LFL results to a total of 22 months. Total in-store LFLs jumped by +15.5%, a result of increased footfall ahead of the festive period. Total non-store sales also rose by +5.0% from a base of +7.6% for the same month in 2021. Total LFLs climbed by +5.02% and +5.52% in the first two weeks of December over the same weeks in 2021, and in the third week by +9.54%. In the final week, total LFLs soared by +26.40%, above an already strong base in December 2021. The fashion sector drove much of the growth in discretionary spending, with total LFLs climbing by +16.0% from a base of 26.3% in December 2021. To read BDO's news release go to https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/news/2023/december-retail-sales-boosted-by-heavy-discounting.
Global Economy
Global growth is expected to decelerate sharply to 1.7% in 2023 — the third weakest pace of growth in nearly three decades. According to a new forecasts by The World Bank, there will be a sharp, long-lasting slowdown, with global growth set to slow to 1.7% in 2023 from 3.0% expected just six months ago. As a result, the World Bank warns that global growth has slowed to the extent that the global economy is "perilously close" to falling into recession. Growth projections have been downgraded for almost all advanced economies, about two-thirds of emerging-market and developing economies in 2023, and about half of all countries in 2024. In all, growth in advanced economies is forecast to slow from 2.5% in 2022 to 0.5% in 2023, while in emerging-market and developing economies, growth prospects for 2023 have been downgraded by 0.8% to a subdued 3.4%. By the end of 2024, GDP levels in emerging-market and developing economies will be about 6% below the level expected on the eve of the pandemic. For more information go to https://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/global-economic-prospects?intcid=ecr_hp_headerB_en_ext.
The confluence of crises that defined 2022 continue to hamper global growth. The World Bank has published a series of nine charts to provide an overview of 2022. This includes a growth chart that indicates that the global economy is now in its steepest slowdown since 1970, with global consumer confidence already suffering a much sharper decline than during the run-up to previous global recessions. The analysis also notes that the world's three largest economies — the US, China, and the euro area — have been sharply slowing and cautions that, under the circumstances, even a moderate hit to the global economy over the next year could tip it into recession. To see the World Bank's chart for growth go to https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/immersive-story/2022/12/15/2022-in-nine-charts?intcid=ecr_hp_headerB_en_ext#group-section-Growth-GEiBSGjgiH.
An unprecedented mix of challenges is bringing the global economy to the brink of recession. Atradius' latest Economic Outlook expects global GDP growth to decrease to 1.2% in 2023, down from 2.9% in 2022 and anticipates that several key advanced markets — the US, the UK and the eurozone — will fall into recession in 2023. In the Eurozone, GDP growth is predicted to contract by 0.1% in 2023 after a 3.1% increase in 2022. The UK is expected to see a 0.7% economic contraction in 2023, followed by a modest 1.8% rebound in 2024. In the US, after a 1.8% growth rate in 2022, Atradius expects a 0.4% contraction in 2023. However, Atradius also warns that further energy price shocks, next to a vicious wage-price spiral in advanced economies, would lead to a deeper global recession. In such a scenario, Atradius expects global growth to halve in 2023 (to 0.6%) and warns that this would shave 2.3% off GDP in the US and 1.5% in the eurozone in 2023. To read Atradius Economic Outlook go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/economic-research/economic-outlook-december-2022.html.
Global growth: Still heading towards a recession. In its Economic Outlook 23-24, Allianz Trade anticipates global GDP growth will slow to +1.4% in 2023 (from +2.9% in 2022) and recover modestly to +2.8% in 2024. However, there will be significant divergence across countries, with advanced economies registering a shallow recession of -0.1% in 2023 (after growth of +2.5% in 2022), followed by a rebound to below-potential growth of +1.5% in 2024. In contrast, growth in emerging markets is expected to remain stable in 2023 at +3.3% — mainly supported by the cautious reopening of China, with a rebound to +4.3% growth expected in 2024. In 2023, Allianz also expects global trade in goods and services to grow by only +0.7% in volume terms and contract by -1.3% in value terms (to USD 29.5 trillion). However, a mild recovery should be possible in 2024, with global trade in goods and services growing by +3.6% in volume terms. To read Allianz Trade's report go to https://www.allianz-trade.com/content/dam/onemarketing/aztrade/allianz-trade_com/en_gl/erd/publications/pdf/2022_12_15_Economic-Outlook.pdf.
World Economic League Table 2023 predicts India will become the third-largest economy in less than ten years. The Cebr's latest World Economic League Table (WELT) indicates that India is now clearly on its way to becoming the world's third economic superpower. Cebr notes that revised figures now show that India overtook the UK to become the world's 5th largest economy in 2021 and is set to overtake Germany to become the world's 4th largest economy in 2026 and then overtake Japan to become the world's 3rd largest economy in 2032. In addition, although Cebr expected China to overtake the US in 2028, it now predicts that it will take until 2036 — and may not happen at all if China attacks Taiwan. Overall, CEBR notes that the changes in this year's WELT are amongst the largest it has made in its 14 years of producing the report, and though it still expects the world GDP will amount to $102 trillion for 2022, in the short term, it anticipates a recession in 2023. To read Cebr's news release go to https://cebr.com/reports/world-economic-league-table-2023/.
Events & Professional Development
The Essence of Credit Risk Workshop, 18 January 2023. London
The Co-pilot team, with Event Partners AICDP, SHS Viveon and Coface, will be holding a workshop, 'The Essence of Credit Management' in London on the 18th January 2023 at 2.30 pm at The Eight Club, Moorgate.
Topics Include:
  • Welcome and introductions
  • Case study — The Fall of Debenhams, What Were the Warning Signs?  
  • Discussion — Tales from the Shop Floor 
  • How does a Credit Risk Manager at the top of their game operate? 
  • The very real new challenges on the horizon — how does the Credit Risk Manager meet them (we have a lot to share on this topic).
The event finishes at 5 pm. Afterwards, there are Drinks and Canapés in the Lounge. This normally involves animated discussion and good networking.
Book your free ticket at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/essence-of-credit-risk-event-tickets-463607912747.
If you would like to know more, please call Simon on +44 7785 990588 or email simon.marshall@co-pilot.co.uk.
9th Annual Supply Chain Finance Summit, 24-25 January 2023. Madrid.
Growth in supply chain finance has been ongoing for over a decade with the pace accelerating in the past two years and showing no sign of slowing. With ESG, digitalisation and blockchain, the industry is now ushering a new stage of development. These developments are poised to aid reduction of the USD1.7tn trade finance gap, now at an all-time high. In the coming years supply chain finance will be a focus of growth for not only major global banks but also for those in emerging markets.
We are delighted to join our media-partners @BCR and @FCI for the 9th Annual Supply Chain Finance Summit on 24-25th January in Madrid to hear from industry experts to discuss the challenges of creating resilient, sustainable and harmonised payables finance solutions, which form the basis of the future of supply chain financing.
To register for an Early Bird discount please follow: https://bcrpub.com/events/9th-annual-supply-chain-finance-summit.
Credit Insurance News readers can get 20% discount with code: MEDIA-20.
How To Guard Against Financial Risk in 2023, 25 January. Online.
Company Watch is running a free online webinar on Wednesday, January 25th: 'How To Guard Against Financial Risk in 2023'. 
  For those of us who manage financial risk, 2023 promises to be another tumultuous year. Join former Small Business Commissioner, Philip King, and Company Watch CEO, Craig Evans, to learn how to navigate the stormy waters that lie ahead in 2023 and gain valuable insights from two financial risk experts.
Company Watch is a credit reference agency and financial analytics specialist, leading the way with cutting-edge, innovative tools that help you manage your exposure to financial risk. 
STECIS, the Trade Credit Insurance & Surety Academy endorsed by ICISA, offers a range of webinars and classroom training courses.
Classroom training courses are organised once or twice per year or on demand while webinars are organised multiple times per year or on demand for groups of participants. February next the Surety classroom training courses are guaranteed to take place on the following dates.
  • 14 & 15 February 2023: Surety Foundation Course 
  • 16 & 17 February 2023: Surety Advanced Course
Registrations can be made until the end of January 2023.
All classroom courses will take place in the Steigenberger Airport hotel close to Schiphol Airport/Amsterdam the Netherlands. The courses include the lunches and a dinner at the end of the first training day.
The courses are hosted by very experienced experts from the industry and there is enough opportunity for asking 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.
Details information about the webinar and classroom training courses are 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: Nexus Trade Credit
Nexus Trade Credit protects businesses against losses from non-payment of a commercial trade debt. Our clients range from manufacturers, subcontractors and service providers to importers and exporters. We aim to provide certainty of coverage to enable our clients to trade confidently at home or overseas. Whether you are new to trade credit insurance or a long-standing client, we go the extra mile to support your growth and provide peace of mind.
Our team of specialists offer a variety of structures to suit the risk appetite and needs of the client. We also offer a range of enhanced coverage including, for example, applications by sub-contractors, pre-delivery costs incurred by manufacturers and timesheets used by labour providers.
We currently operate from offices in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, France, and the USA — specialising in Whole Turnover, Non-Cancellable Cover, and, offer cover on a Top-Up and Key Buyer basis. We closely work with our clients and ensure that they always have direct access to the decision maker on their policy.
In addition, we provide products that enhance companies’ credit management including First Limit, a service offering real-time credit opinions and 24/7 monitoring and First Place, a highly regarded debt collection service in partnership with STA International which is reinforced by further policy enhancements.
To contact us, or, to find out more information about our services, visit our website: www.nexusunderwriting.com/en-gb/products/trade-credit-insurance.
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