Welcome to the December 2021 issue of Credit Management News Digest. This issue is sponsored by Tinubu Square.

PLUS:  What are the New Challenges for Export Credit Agencies?  
A panel of international experts discussed the vital role Export Credit Agencies play in supporting trade and development, and how they must transform in response to evolving complexities.
UK Late Payment, Business Distress & Insolvencies
1 in 3 UK businesses considers late payment as one of their biggest threats to survival. Research by Time Finance has reported that for 70% of UK SMEs, late payments are a recurring issue leading to more severe consequences. Time Finance found that less than one in three businesses are paid by their customers within the agreed 30 days terms, with "an astonishing" 70% waiting more than 60, 90 or 120 days. As a result, almost one in three businesses also fear their relationships with customers are negatively affected due to chasing payments, whilst over one-third struggle to pay their own invoices or their employees on time. Phil Chesham, Head of Invoice Finance at Time Finance, commented: "Businesses have to spend money to make money, but how can they do this if their potential working capital is tied up in unpaid invoices? We can see businesses being held back by late payment, and this then has wider consequences for the UK economy." To read Time Finance's news release go to https://timefinance.com/press-releases/1-in-3-businesses-see-late-payment-as-one-of-their-biggest-threats-to-survival.
Nearly half of UK companies have changed their payment terms in the last year. According to a new survey released by Make UK and RSM, UK manufacturers are "grappling" with disrupted supply chains, mounting skills shortages and a sharp inflationary spiral, as well as a liquidity squeeze as customers and suppliers change their payment terms. As a result, the cash position for almost half of companies is worse now than at any point since the pandemic began, with 46% using the various Government liquidity schemes as a precaution (in particular those in the automotive and aerospace sectors), and 40% taking advantage of HMRC deferrals. In addition, 46% of companies have changed their payment terms in the last year, with larger companies being more likely to have done so. To read RSM's news release go to https://www.rsmuk.com/news/manufacturing-industry-faces-post-covid-cash-and-credit-crunch.
UK company directors are choosing to close their businesses after deeming post-pandemic success unlikely. New data from the Insolvency Service has found that Corporate insolvencies fell by 3.0% in October to a total of 1,405, and by 5% compared to the pre-pandemic level in October 2019. Christina Fitzgerald, Deputy Vice President of insolvency and restructuring trade body R3, commented: "The month-on-month fall in corporate insolvencies has been driven by a reduction in the number of Creditors' Voluntary Liquidations. However, there are still twice as many companies entering this procedure as this time last year, and nearly 20% more than in 2019. This would suggest that there are still a fair number of company directors who are choosing to close their businesses after deeming post-pandemic success unlikely." To read R3's news release go to https://www.r3.org.uk/press-policy-and-research/news/more/31063/r3-responds-to-october-2021-insolvency-figures/.
UK insolvencies were 22% higher in October 2021 than in the same period in 2020. The latest analysis by Creditsafe has found that October 2021 saw the total number of UK insolvencies increase by 19% compared to September and by 22% compared to October 2020. A total of 1,971 companies became insolvent. Creditsafe's research also found that the total number of UK company insolvencies for the year 2021 decreased by 5% (to 15,334) compared to the same period in 2020, although Creditsafe stresses that the number of insolvencies has been steadily rising since August 2021. Overall, the construction sector remains the most significant contributor to the insolvency numbers representing 17% of all insolvencies in October 2021 and 16% of all company insolvencies in 2021. To read Creditsafe's analysis go to https://www.creditsafe.com/gb/en/blog/reports/insolvencies.html.
UK Economy & Trade Sectors
The new COVID-19 variant could push back UK economic recovery. According to the latest analysis in KPMG's UK Economic Outlook, the emergence of a potentially more contagious strain of COVID-19 brings new uncertainties around the UK's short-term economic outlook. As a result, KPMG has developed three scenarios (upside, middle, downside) which suggest that UK GDP growth could be between 1.8% (downside scenario) and 4.2% (upside scenario) next year. The upside scenario assumes no further lockdowns or retail restrictions. The downside scenario assumes a lockdown in January and February 2022, the closing of non-essential retail in January, the closure of dine-in restaurants in January and February, social distancing until the end of March and international travel restrictions until June. To read KPMG's news release go to https://home.kpmg/uk/en/home/media/press-releases/2021/12/new-covid-variant-to-push-back-uk-economic-recovery.html.
The CBI expects GDP to be 3% below its pre-COVID trend at the end of 2023. According to the latest CBI economic forecast, the foundations for the UK's economic recovery remain firm despite global supply challenges weighing on growth in the near-term. However, short-term headwinds have grown since the business group's previous forecast in June. As a result, the CBI is now forecasting 6.9% growth in GDP over 2021 and 5.1% in 2022, revised down from 8.2% and 6.1%, respectively. At the end of 2023, the CBI expects GDP to be 3% below its pre-COVID trend still and notes that most of the economies that we forecast are set to surpass their pre-pandemic levels of GDP at the end of 2022. To read the CBI's news release go to https://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/articles/booster-for-business-investment-needed-to-sustain-the-recovery-unleash-uks-potential-cbi-economic-forecast/.
The UK economy is expected to reach pre-crisis levels at the beginning of 2022. The OECD has advised that the UK economy is recovering and expected to reach pre-crisis levels at the beginning of 2022. Output is projected to rise by 6.9% in 2021, with growth moderating to 4.7% in 2022 and 2.1% in 2023.  However, the OECD also cautions that its projection is surrounded by risks. Public health concerns and higher-than-expected goods and energy prices could weigh on consumption. A prolonged period of acute supply and labour shortages could slow down the recovery by forcing firms into a more permanent reduction in their operating capacity. Higher inflation expectations could lead to an earlier-than-expected increase of the policy rate. In addition, the OECD warns that a worsening trade relationship with the European Union could also weigh on the economic outlook. To read the OECD's Economic Outlook go to https://www.oecd.org/economic-outlook/#global-outlook.
Cautious optimism for the UK economy in 2022. According to the latest PwC UK Economic Outlook, although UK GDP growth is expected to remain strong in 2022 (at around 4.5-5.1%), PwC's economists caution that this is primarily driven by the impact of base effects as the fall in output during the national lockdown a year ago skews the annual figures. Core underlying growth is expected to be relatively modest, marking a return to a low-growth period until at least 2023. Jonathan Gilllham, Chief Economist at PwC UK, commented: "We expect sectors like manufacturing to experience slower growth next year of between 1% and 2%, while hospitality is expected to grow between 16% and 20% under our 'limited' and 'accelerated growth' scenarios."  To read PwC's news release go to https://www.pwc.co.uk/press-room/press-releases/uk-economic-outlook-december-2021-polarised-recovery-continues.html.
UK SMEs forge ahead with cautious optimism. New research by MarketFinance has found that despite lingering anxieties about the pandemic and a variety of economic and commercial issues, the majority of UK SMEs believe it is now imperative to begin building back from the crisis. 48% of businesses MarketFinance surveyed expect their turnover to stabilise or increase over the next 12 months. Similarly, 50% of SMEs expect demand for their products or services to stabilise or increase over the next six months. MarketFinance's research has also found that 63% of SMEs expect their business to grow over the next three years, and 70% now feel confident enough to increase business investment over the next 12 months. In addition, 34% say they already sell overseas or plan to begin doing so. To read MarketFinance's news release go to https://marketfinance.com/blog/marketfinance-news/2021/12/01/smes-forge-ahead-PR.
Christmas comes early for UK retailers. According to the latest CBI quarterly Distributive Trades Survey, UK Retailers reported that sales in November were good for the time of year and to the greatest extent since September 2015. Retail sales are also expected to remain above seasonal norms to broadly a similar extent next month. The survey found that year-on-year retail sales growth accelerated in November, while internet sales fell for the first time in survey history (i.e. since 2001). Both results will be affected by base effects, reflecting the tightening of COVID-19 restrictions in November 2020, which weighed on overall volumes but pushed up internet sales growth. Ben Jones, CBI Lead Economist, said: "It seems likely that reports of supply chain disruptions prompted consumers to start their Christmas shopping early." To read the CBI's news release go to https://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/articles/christmas-comes-early-for-retailers/.
Black Friday fails to boost UK footfall. According to the latest data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), total UK footfall decreased by 15.7% in November compared to 2019 and by 2.0% compared to October. Black Friday itself saw a decline of 23.4% compared to 2019; however, footfall was still 35.3% higher than the previous weekend (19 Nov 2021). It was also only the second time in the whole of 2021 that there has been a monthly slowdown in the High Street's recovery. Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant EMEA for BRC's Sensormatic Solutions, commented that although shopper numbers on Black Friday were down on pre-pandemic levels by about a fifth, this could be due to the "polarised flux in Christmas shopping behaviours we're witnessing. Those who have bought early in a bid to avoid crowds and minimise risks of supply chain disruption have shopped even earlier this year, contributing to October's boost and November's lull." To read the BRC's news release go to https://brc.org.uk/news/corporate-affairs/black-friday-fails-to-boost-footfall/.
Strong growth in the UK's private sector activity continues into three months to November. According to the CBI's latest Growth Indicator, private sector activity in the UK grew at a similarly strong pace in the quarter to November as the previous month (balance of +32% from +29%). Activity has now been growing at an above-average pace for seven consecutive surveys. Growth remained broad-based and above average across all subsectors, with notable results including consumer services (+28% from +24%) and business & professional services (+40% from +34%), with the latter seeing the fastest rise in activity seen since May. Looking ahead, growth in private sector activity is expected to continue at a firm pace, albeit easing in the coming quarter, taking expectations for growth to their lowest since March (+24%). To read the CBI's news release go to https://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/articles/strong-growth-in-private-sector-activity-continues-into-three-months-to-november/.
European & Global Economy 
The global recovery is strong but imbalanced. The OECD's latest Economic Outlook reports that although the global economic revival is unbalanced, its overall economic outlook is "cautiously optimistic". The OECD's central scenario is that the global recovery will continue, with monetary and fiscal policies remaining generally supportive throughout 2022. This would mean that, after a rebound of 5.6% in 2021, global growth would "move along at a brisk pace" of 4.5% in 2022, moderating to 3.2% in 2023. Most advanced economies are projected to return to their pre-pandemic output path by 2023. To read the OECD's Economic Outlook go to https://www.oecd.org/economic-outlook/#global-outlook.
Western Europe is bracing for heightened insolvency risk. Atradius' latest Payment Practices Barometer for Western Europe warns that delayed insolvencies from 2020 and 2021, along with new ones, are expected to drive a heightened insolvency risk environment with rising payment defaults in most observed markets and a 33% predicted increase in global insolvencies in 2022. All major regions should be affected. The Atradius Barometer also found that 53% of the total value of all B2B invoices in Western Europe were reported overdue this year, an increase on last year's 47%, and write-offs increased from 7% to 10% of the total value of invoices in the region. To read Atradius' news release, with a link to the full report, go to https://atradius.co.uk/reports/payment-practices-barometer-western-europe-2021-bracing-for-heightened-insolvency-risk.html.
The outlook for doing cross-border business remains "relatively challenging". Dun & Bradstreet's (D&B) latest Global Business Risk Report (GBRR) has found that despite an improvement in the previous quarter, the outlook for doing cross-border business remains relatively challenging and the risks confronting businesses remain elevated. Although the GBI score is below the levels seen throughout 2020, at 288, it remains above the long-term average of 267.6. Energy crisis, geopolitics, and Covid-19 continue to dominate top risks. Of the ten identified risks, at least three are directly linked to the ongoing global energy crisis. D&B notes that the Q4 2021 score highlights that business decision-makers need to have contingency plans in place for the sudden disruption of seemingly-secure supply chains. To read D&B's analysis go to https://www.dnb.co.uk/perspectives/finance-credit-risk/quarterly-global-business-risk-report.html.
Vulnerabilities, resilience in global trading system examined in World Trade Report 2021. The 2021 edition of the WTO's World Trade Report examines why the interconnected global trading system is both vulnerable and resilient to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, how it can help countries to be more economically resilient to shocks, and what can be done to make the system better prepared and more resilient in the future. The report notes that the ongoing health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been a massive stress test for the world trading system, delivering unprecedented disruptions to global supply chains and increasing trade tensions among countries. However, the trading system has proved itself more resilient than many expected at the outset of the crisis. Although the pandemic initially led to a severe contraction in international trade flows, supply chains have rapidly adapted, goods such as essential medical supplies have continued to flow across borders, and many economies have gradually begun to recover. To read the WTO's report go to https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news21_e/wtr_16nov21_e.htm.
Credit Management News & Tools
A pandemic-accelerated increase in digital transactions is here to stay. According to Experian's latest Global Insights Report (which surveyed consumers and businesses in 10 countries), there has been a 25% increase in online activity since COVID-19, and that number continues to hold steady. "For the past 12 months, we've monitored the significant and sustainable shift toward e-commerce and digital financial services," said Steve Wagner, global managing director of Decision Analytics for Experian. As a result, companies are leveraging advanced technologies to improve and grow their business, with initiatives including digital credit risk decisioning, passive authentication, and artificial intelligence. To read Experian's news release go to https://www.experianplc.com/media/latest-news/2021/experian-finds-25-percent-increase-in-online-activity-since-covid-19/.
Two-thirds of UK business leaders expect cyber security threats to increase over the next 12 months. According to the latest PwC cyber security survey of business and technology executives, 66% of UK business leaders expect the threat from cyber criminals to increase over the next 12 months. The findings reinforce the concerns of UK businesses about different cyber threats, as well the potential vulnerability of their supply chains. Over the past year, a number of prominent ransomware attacks have caused a significant impact on organisations already dealing with the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic. There is also now the added threat of 'ransomware as a service' in which ransomware developers lease out their malware in exchange for a share of the criminal profits. To read PwC's news release go to https://www.pwc.co.uk/press-room/press-releases/two-thirds-of-uk-business-leaders-expect-cyber-security-threat-t.html.
Atradius publishes its latest Risk Map for Q3 2021. Atradius' Economic Research team has published the latest Atradius Risk Map for Q3 2021. The map provides an at-a-glance overview of the level of risk associated with countries worldwide and uses a rating system for assessing country risk called the STAR rating system (STAR stands for Sovereign Transfer and Arbitrary Risk) as a summary measure of political risk. The STAR rating runs on a colour-coded scale from 1 to 10, where 1 (green) represents the lowest risk and 10 (red) the highest risk. This issue has specific insights on three potential risk areas: Colombia, Sri Lanka and Gabon. To view the Map copy go to https://atradius.co.uk/article/risk-map.html.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) finds that small UK importers are unaware of changes due to impact them from 1 January 2022. Currently, full customs declarations for EU goods can be deferred at the point of arrival. However, from 1 January 2022, paperwork will have to be handled upfront, and notice of food, drink and products of animal origin imports given in advance. With fewer than five weeks left to prepare for the changes, new FSB research shows that only one in four small importers who are impacted by the changes and aware of them, are ready for them. 16% of the importers surveyed by the group said that they are unable to prepare for the introduction of checks in the current climate, and 33% admitted they were unaware of the of the changes prior to the FSB study, but will be affected by them. To read the FSB's news release go to https://www.fsb.org.uk/resources-page/small-firms-sound-alarm-as-60bn-eu-import-checks-close-in.html.
Events & Professional Development
TXF Americas 2022: Structured Trade & Export Finance 
 HYBRID EVENT: MIAMI & ONLINE (Conducted in English), 8-9 March 2022.   It's been away for far too long TXF Americas 2022: Structured Trade & Export Finance is back in-person and returns in all it's glory to sunny Miami for the first time in over 2 years on 8-9 March, and this time with a hybrid element.
We will continue to innovate in the virtual space, using the wonderful world of hybrid events to offer guests unlimited access to online content and networking. Deal makers from across the globe are already lining up to save their spot. 

Topics up for debate include:
  • ESGs and Energy transition - moving forward 
  • Evolution of ECA products in the region - increasing flexibility and innovation 
  • Identifying who's filling the finance gap (DFIs, ECAs, Alternative Financiers) - availability of new financing products 
  • Updates on recovery focused programmes in key LatAm Countries. 
Whilst we are so excited to return in person, the safety of our guests remains paramount. Please rest assured that we will monitor the global situation as it changes and respond with appropriate measures.

Two types of participation are available for TXF hybrid events:
1. Physical Event Ticket
  • Get your feet on the ground to come together with key clients, colleagues and industry experts. Your ticket will also include:
  • Additional networking features such as the poolside cocktail reception Access to the virtual event platform – reach out to virtual-only attendees and watch all sessions on-demand if you miss them 
  • Networking concierge service – allow us to do the leg work and introduce you to new potential clients 
2. Virtual Ticket/ On-Demand (Available TXF events 365 Members Only)
From the comfort of your desk watch all sessions live or on-demand as well as use our ‘Search the Guest List’ feature to reach out to other virtual attendees and those joining the physical event in-person. 
To find out more about joining virtually as part of a TXF Membership, please email membership@txfmedia.com.

Annual Receivables Finance International Convention, 9-10 March. London/Hybrid 
Join BCR Publishing for their 22nd Annual Receivables Finance International Convention. 
RFIx’22 will be held in London at the offices of Clifford Chance and will bring together in person, senior receivables finance executives from around the world, with live streaming also available.
BCR will be also holding its 4th Annual Receivables Finance International Awards on 9 March 2022, on the evening of the first day of RFIx’22.
Book your place for RFIx’22 and help define the future of working capital finance: https://bcrpub.com/events/rfix-receivables-finance-international-convention-2022. Use the Early Bird rate before 4 February to receive £200 off the full price.
To apply for free to receive RFIx22 Award, download your info pack today: https://bcrpub.com/awards/rfix22-awards-and-gala-dinner.
World Trade Symposium, 31 March. London.
The past 18 months have seen the rules on global trade rewritten. The profound digital transformation that was already underway has accelerated, slashing costs and reforging supply chains - with innovative shippers, banks, trading blocs, and fintechs leading the way.
As a result, all governments, businesses, and trade practitioners now face the urgent task of understanding the technology trends and practical and policy challenges involved in grasping the opportunity of digital trade.
Alongside this, policymakers and non-governmental organisations forecast that digital technologies and standards will open trade to millions more small and micro-enterprises across the world, cementing a new path to global prosperity.
Digital tracking and provenance solutions could also boost sustainability and help reduce carbon emissions.
These "tech-tonic" shifts are a significant opportunity for all stakeholders in trade, but many obstacles still need to be overcome.
The World Trade Symposium 2022 will bring together top executives and leading global policymakers for a day of rigorous discussion and debate on these critical issues.
The event will reassess the new "trade lines" created by the pandemic, explore the scope and impact of digital trade technologies and evaluate the opportunities and challenges ahead.
For more information and to book tickets go to https://www.tradefinanceglobal.com/conferences/world-trade-symposium-03-2022/.
TXF Global 2022: Export, Agency & Project Finance
HYBRID EVENT: LISBON & ONLINE, 7-8 June 2022. Lisbon, Portugal.
TXF Global Export is back for 2022 and this time, *drumroll*... we're taking the global export roadshow to Lisbon!
Join us on the 7th & 8th June 2022 for another unmissable hybrid event. Deal makers from across the globe are already lining up to save their spot. Topics up for debate include:
  • Financing the goals of COP 26
  • Mega borrowers of the future
  • Mega borrowers of the future
  • Guardians of Export Credit - The Government perspective
  • The Green ECA CEO panel
Two types of participation are available for TXF hybrid events:
Two types of participation are available for TXF hybrid events:
1. Physical Event Ticket
  • Get your feet on the ground to come together with key clients, colleagues and industry experts. Your ticket will also include:
  • Additional networking features such as the poolside cocktail reception Access to the virtual event platform – reach out to virtual-only attendees and watch all sessions on-demand if you miss them 
  • Networking concierge service – allow us to do the leg work and introduce you to new potential clients 
2. Virtual Ticket/ On-Demand (Available TXF events 365 Members Only)
From the comfort of your desk watch all sessions live or on-demand as well as use our ‘Search the Guest List’ feature to reach out to other virtual attendees and those joining the physical event in-person. 
To find out more about joining virtually as part of a TXF Membership, please email membership@txfmedia.com. email membership@txfmedia.com.
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: Tinubu Square
Tinubu Square is the industry-leading SaaS platform vendor, enabling Credit Insurance & Surety digital transformation.
For 20 years, Tinubu Square has provided Credit & Surety insurers across the globe with software and services allowing them to offer best-in-class customer experience, as well as significantly reduce their exposure to risk and their financial, operational and technical costs.
Tinubu Square has an international footprint with customers in over 20 countries, including 30 of the top 60 worldwide Credit & Surety underwriters.
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