Welcome to the September 2021 issue of Credit Management News Digest. This issue is sponsored by SCHUMANN.

Index
UK Late Payment, Business Distress & Insolvencies
650,000 UK businesses are in ‘significant financial distress’ — the second-highest distress level ever recorded. Begbies Traynor's latest Red Flag Alert research for Q2 2021 has found that 650,000 UK businesses are in significant financial distress. Although this is 10% less than the highest recorded number of significantly distressed businesses in Q1 2021, it is still the second-highest distress level ever recorded by this research and 24% higher than the same time last year. Ric Traynor, Executive Chairman of Begbies Traynor Group, commented: “Hidden risks abound for UK businesses and all represent a real threat to corporate survival in the short term. The first is overtrading — many businesses are experiencing high demand, and failure to manage their funding lines presents a real threat to their viability as many will simply run out of cash." To read Begbies Traynor's news release go to https://www.begbies-traynorgroup.com/news/business-health-statistics/650000-uk-businesses-facing-significant-financial-distress.
One in seven UK shops remains shuttered. New research by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Local Data Company has found that in the second quarter of 2021, the overall UK shop vacancy rate increased to 14.5%, from 14.1% in Q1, and was 2.1% higher than at the same point in 2020. Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the BRC, commented: "It comes as no surprise that the number of shuttered stores in the UK continues to rise after retailers have been in and out of lockdown for over a year. While vacancy rates are rising across all retail locations, it is shopping centres with a high proportion of fashion retailers that the pandemic has the hardest hit. Almost one in five shopping centre units now lie empty, and more than one in eight units have been empty for more than a year." To read the BRC's news release go to https://brc.org.uk/news/corporate-affairs/one-in-seven-shops-remain-shuttered/.
Listed UK businesses issue the lowest number of profit warnings in over 22 years of analysis. In just over 12 months, the EY-Parthenon Profit Warnings report has recorded both the lowest and highest quarters of UK profit warnings since EY's analysis began at the turn of the Millennium. UK quoted companies issued 32 profit warnings in Q2 2021 — the lowest quarterly total EY has recorded in over 22 years of profit warning analysis, while Q1 saw a record high of 301 — the second-highest total. EY notes that it recorded similar dips in 2002/3 and 2009 after 9/11 and the global financial crash, respectively, and suggests that markets tend to over-correct and underestimate the challenges of recovery. To read EY's news release go to https://www.ey.com/en_uk/news/2021/07/listed-businesses-issue-the-lowest-number-of-profit-warnings-in-over-years-of-analysis-reveals-ey-parthenon-report.
New data indicates a 13.4% year-on-year increase in corporate insolvencies in July. New data from the Office for National Statistics has reported that corporate insolvencies fell in July fell by 9.3% (to 1,094) compared to June, but increased by 13.4% compared to July 2020's figure. The fall in corporate insolvencies was driven by a drop in Compulsory Liquidations, Administrations and Company Voluntary Arrangements, and an especially notable decrease in Creditors' Voluntary Liquidations. Colin Haig, President of R3 and Head of Restructuring at Azets, commented: "The 70.4% increase in Creditors' Voluntary Liquidations this month compared to July 2020 suggests an increasing number of directors have decided to close their businesses after spending a year trying to survive the pandemic." To read R3's news release go to https://www.r3.org.uk/press-policy-and-research/news/more/29970/page/1//.
Research highlights the huge positive economic impact faster payment of invoices could have on small businesses. The Good Business Pays research highlights a measurable worsening of payment practices. In the two years running up to the COVID-19 pandemic, large businesses had been gradually improving their average payment times. During the pandemic, this trend reversed, and the average time increased from 36.4 days to 37.4 days. In addition, the proportion of invoices paid later than 60 days jumped by over 8% between 2019 and 2020 to one in seven (14.9%) of all invoices. However, if invoices were paid on the day they were submitted, the research estimates that small businesses revenues would increase by £40–£60 billion per year, small business profits would be between 1.8% and 2.7% higher, and collective profits across the small business sector would rise by up to £6.3 billion per year. To read Good Business Pays' news release go to https://goodbusinesspays.com/posts/faster-payment-unlock-60bn/.
Directors and shareholders of small companies continue to call time on their businesses at record levels. InfolinkGazette has advised that the number of Members Voluntary Liquidations in England and Wales during the 12 months to 31 December 2021 increased by 24.7% compared to the same period in 2020, and by a notable 71% compared to the same period in 2019. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “these are solvent companies that are able to meet all of their financial commitments and loan repayments but are unable to see a realistic future for their business." Greg added: “because these are solvent companies, the closures are not counted in the insolvency statistics published by the Insolvency Service, but they do demonstrate that business confidence is at a low ebb, and these closures will adversely affect jobs and future tax revenues.” To read InfolinkGazette's news release go to https://www.infolinkgazette.co.uk/?pid=6.
UK Economy & Trade Sectors
Rapid UK growth is set to slow in the third quarter. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has advised that June’s month-on-month UK GDP growth of 1% — slightly stronger than NIESR's forecast in June — was mainly driven by the effects of reopening, which led to a 1.5% growth in the services sector. For the second quarter as a whole, UK GDP increased by 4.8%, although the level of GDP is still below its pre-pandemic level by 4.4%. Looking ahead, and with the assumption that COVID-19 cases will continue to fall, NIESR expects reduced growth of 2.4% for the third quarter of 2021 and forecasts 6.8% growth for 2021 and 5.3% in 2022. To read NIESR's news release with a link to the full report go to https://www.niesr.ac.uk/media/press-release-niesr-monthly-gdp-tracker-rapid-growth-slow-third-quarter-14852.
UK economic recovery continues to beat expectations. An article published by the House of Commons Library has advised that the UK economy is on track to make up lost ground. The UK’s GDP fell by 9.8% in 2020, the steepest drop since consistent records began in 1948. However, it has been growing strongly in recent months, with an increase of 4.8% from April to June 2021 compared to the previous three months. The recovery is also outstripping the 2.0% growth recorded in the Eurozone in Q2 2021. Services output was up by 21.0% in the three months to June 2021 compared to the previous year. Manufacturing output rose by 26.3%. Although the article notes that it is not clear when the UK’s economic activity will reach pre-pandemic levels, it cites an analysis published by the Financial Times that suggests that it is entirely possible that this will happen before the end of 2021. To read the article go to https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-9040/.
Over 8,700 chain stores disappeared from Great Britain’s retail locations in the first six months of 2021. According to PwC research, compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC), in total 3,488 shops opened in the first half of 2021, compared to 8,739 closures — creating a net decline of 5,251. However, retailers had some reprieve, with the number of closures falling faster than the number of openings. As a result, despite some high profile administrations of high street fashion and department stores in early 2021, the overall net closure rate was 750 lower than it was at the same point last year. PwC also notes that as spending intentions return to pre-pandemic levels, pent-up demand as lockdown measures eased has converted into better-than-expected retail sales in the first full months of trading. To read PwC's news release go to https://www.pwc.co.uk/press-room/press-releases/decline-in-stores-slows-as-government-measures-and-pent-up-post-0.html.
UK private sector activity has been growing at the fastest pace in seven years. According to the CBI’s latest Growth Indicator, in the three months to August, activity across the private sector grew at the fastest pace (+34% from +33% last month) since May 2014. This is the fourth consecutive month where growth has been above the long-run average. Consumer services activity was a significant driver of growth, growing at its fastest pace since February 2018 (+30% from +3%). Distribution activity picked up further too (+53% from +48%), while business and professional services growth was broadly stable (+32% from +34%). Meanwhile, growth in activity within the manufacturing sector slowed (+22% from +37%). To read the CBI's news release go to https://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/articles/private-sector-activity-grows-at-fastest-pace-in-seven-years-cbi-growth-indicator/.
UK retailers record solid August sales, but dwindling stock threatens sustained revival. New figures published by BDO LLP indicate that, although UK retail sales in August recorded a sixth month of consecutive growth, COVID-choked supply chains could lead to disrupted months ahead. According to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker, while total like-for-like sales, combined in-store and online, increased by +20.1% in August from a base of -3.3% for the equivalent month last year, growth rates are now gradually slowing, with one reason potentially being that retail spending is starting to level-off following the post-lockdown surge in consumer demand. Looking ahead, Sophie Michael, Head of Retail and Wholesale at the firm, also cautioned that “dwindling stock may cast a chill as the forthcoming golden quarter trading nears and supply chain disruptions begin to bite.” To read BDO's news release go to https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/news/2021/retailers-record-solid-august-sales-but-dwindling-stock-threatens-sustained-revival.
UK retail sales and orders growth soar, but supply issues mount. UK retail sales grew at the sharpest pace since December 2014 in the year to August, while orders growth hit a survey record high, according to the latest CBI quarterly Distributive Trades Survey. The survey also found that while firms expect orders and sales growth to slow next month, both are ultimately set to remain strong. Less positively, stock levels in relation to expected sales hit a survey record low across retail and the distribution sector as a whole — marking the fifth consecutive month in which a record low has been reached. In addition, within retail, the proportion of deliveries from suppliers accounted for by imports is also at one of the fastest rates in the survey’s history. To read the CBI's news release go to https://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/articles/retail-sales-and-orders-growth-soar-but-supply-issues-mount-cbi/.
Nearly 3 in 4 UK exporters reported no sales growth in Q2. The British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) latest Trade Confidence Outlook for Q2 has shown that the percentage of UK firms reporting increased export sales rose to 27%, a 7-point rise from the previous quarter, while the percentage of businesses reporting decreased export sales fell to 28%, down from 41% (although this remains a historically high proportion). 45% reported no change in their export sales. Respondents cited issues arising from Brexit as the main cause of difficulties with export sales in the quarter. Many also pointed to ongoing issues with the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, increased red tape or costs and losing EU based clients or customers to the perception that trade was now simply too difficult or complex. To read the BCC's news release go to https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/news/2021/07/bcc-research-nearly-3-in-4-exporters-report-no-sales-growth-in-q2-2.
UK CFOs gear up for growth and foresee a spending boom. Spending by UK businesses is set to surge in the coming months, according to Deloitte’s UK CFO Survey Q2 2021. In a shift away from last year’s top priority of cost reduction, over three-quarters of UK CFOs (71%) now expect rises in capital expenditure, and 76% anticipate increases in hiring over the year ahead — with expectations for both at their highest levels in almost seven years. The research also found that CFOs are now placing greater emphasis on expansionary strategies, with 41% rating introducing new products and services or expanding into new markets as a strong priority. Meanwhile, 30% rate expanding by acquisition and 22% rate increasing capital expenditure as a strong priority over the next 12 months. To read Deloitte's news release go to https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/press-releases/articles/deloitte-uk-cfo-survey-july.html.
European & Global Economy 
Global CEO confidence returns to pre-pandemic levels. The KPMG 2021 CEO Outlook has found that 60% of leaders (58% in the UK) are confident about the global economy's growth prospects over the next three years (up from 42% in January/February’s survey). As a result, a larger proportion of global CEOs plan to invest in expansion and business transformation, with 69% of senior executives (67% in the UK) identifying inorganic methods (e.g. joint ventures, M&A and strategic alliances) as their organisation’s main strategy for growth. A majority (87%) of global and UK leaders also advised that they plan to make acquisitions in the next three years. In contrast, Just 21% (14% in the UK) of CEOs now say they are planning to downsize, or have already downsized, a dramatic shift from August 2020, when 69% of global leaders said that they planned to downsize. To read KPMG's news release go to https://home.kpmg/uk/en/home/media/press-releases/2021/09/global-ceo-confidence-returns-to-pre-pandemic-levels--kpmg-study.html.
Divergence in vaccination programmes between advanced and emerging economies is reflected in growth prospects. Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) has reported that it is currently forecasting that the global economy will rebound by 5.3% in 2021, following the sharp contraction of 3.8% in 2020. However, although overall growth will be stronger than in 2011 after the global financial crash, D&B notes that the divergence in vaccination programmes between advanced and emerging economies will be reflected in similarly divergent growth prospects. This difference will also be exacerbated by the different abilities of governments to sustain fiscal support packages in 2021. For example, according to IMF data, advanced countries have announced fiscal support packages worth USD4.6 trillion for 2021 and beyond, while many emerging economies have withdrawn fiscal support. To read D&B's news release go to https://www.dnb.co.uk/perspectives/finance-credit-risk/country-risk-global-outlook.html.
The slowdown in US corporate bankruptcies is likely to persist until the end of this year. S&P Global has advised that US corporate bankruptcies are at a near 10-year low, and predicts that easy access to credit and the reopening economy will mean that the current slowdown is likely to persist until the end of 2021. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, 32 new corporate bankruptcy cases were filed during June, a slight uptick from the 27 filed in May but less than half of the 71 filings in June 2020. James Gellert, CEO of the financial data technology firm RapidRatings, commented: "The trend will continue for a while with companies bumping along, barely surviving but for access to capital and not filing for bankruptcy." To read S&P Global's news release go to https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/blog/chip-shortages-stick-around-while-the-world-waits-for-more-capacity.
Fault lines widen in the global recovery. The IMF has advised that global economic prospects have diverged further across countries since its April 2021 World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecast was published, with vaccine access emerging as the principal fault line along which the global recovery splits into two blocs: those that can look forward to further normalisation of activity later this year (almost all advanced economies) and those that will still face resurgent infections. Overall, the IMF predict that the global economy will grow by 6.0% in 2021 and 4.9% in 2022 (unchanged from the April 2021 WEO). However, prospects for emerging markets and developing economies have been marked down for 2021, especially for Emerging Asia. By contrast, the forecast for advanced economies has been revised up. To read the IMF's news release go to https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/Issues/2021/07/27/world-economic-outlook-update-july-2021.
Signs of moderating growth in most major economies. The OECD's latest Composite Leading Indicators (CLIs) indicate signs of moderating pace of growth at above-trend levels in the OECD area as a whole and in most major economies, including the US, Japan and Canada. Similar indications have also emerged in the UK and in the euro area as a whole, including Germany and Italy, and there are signs of moderating pace of growth in France — although the CLI is still below trend. CLIs for the major emerging-market economies point to diverging developments. Steady growth continues in China (industrial sector) and in India, whereas in Brazil the CLI continues to indicate slowing growth. Signs of moderating pace of growth have also emerged in Russia. To read the OECD's news release go to https://www.oecd.org/newsroom/composite-leading-indicators-cli-oecd-august-2021.htm.
Both business registrations and bankruptcies in the EU increased in Q2. The latest data from Eurostat indicates that, in the second quarter of 2021, registrations of new businesses in the EU increased by 5.3% when compared with the previous quarter, and by 53% compared to a year earlier. The number of registered bankruptcies also increased: by 24% compared to Q2 2020, with a 1.8% growth in bankruptcies compared with the first quarter of 2021. Eurostat notes that the decrease in bankruptcies, in particular in the first two quarters of 2020, can be explained by the government measures supporting businesses during the crisis. To read Eurostat's news release go to https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/ddn-20210825-1.
Credit Management News & Tools
The UK economy: a dashboard. The House of Commons Library has published an interactive dashboard that provides data on economic growth, inflation, trade, employment, government borrowing and debt across the UK for the last 70 years. The dashboard also includes the latest data and is updated every time the Office for National Statistics publishes new research. To explore the dashboard go to https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/the-uk-economy/.
Free service provides Prompt Payment Reports. The Good Business Pays homepage has a free facility that enables users to enter a company's name to receive a Prompt Payment Report detailing the average time the company takes to pay invoices, the volume of invoices it pays late, its performance in comparison to other companies, and the payment terms it offers. Users of the website are also encouraged to submit data based on their own past trading experience. For more information go to https://goodbusinesspays.com/.
Tripit. Now that some of us are beginning to travel again, readers might find Tripit, an app that enables frequent business travellers to manage a master itinerary of travel, useful. Once users have forwarded their confirmation emails for flights and hotel bookings to Tripit, Tripit automatically creates a master itinerary that can be shared with managers, colleagues or family. Tripit users are also provided with updates on the status of their flights, allowing them to check for delays — or possibly even find better seats. It also gathers weather forecasts, maps, and directions. To sign up for Tripit go to https://www.tripit.com/web.
Publish low cost, top quality, high-impact videos quickly for internal communications, sales, and marketing. CrewStudio is an innovative new mobile app that enables businesses to quickly publish low cost, high-impact videos for internal communications, sales, marketing, and social media amplification. It effectively turns employees into a professional film crew with defined tasks, smart in-camera features and filming tips. The video is then expertly edited according to the client's brief (and revised as necessary) by the CrewStudio team. For more information go to https://wtvglobal.com/crewstudio/.
Events & Professional Development
GTR MENA, 22 September 2021. Dubai.
Following on from the virtual event held in February and as part of its combined hybrid offering for 2021, Global Trade Review is delighted to be returning to Dubai for GTR MENA 2021 on September 22 for a special in-person event, taking place at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers.
Reflecting on the seismic previous 18 months for trade and exports in the region, proceedings will address a range of topics and issues, from trade resilience and the road to post-Covid recovery to the many exciting developments in the fintech and tradetech space, issues around supply chain management and SCF, emerging trade corridors, asset distribution and the increasing significance of ESG.
As the first opportunity to bring the GTR MENA community together in-person since February 2020, this event represents an exclusive opportunity for participants to network and connect with experts, industry peers and potential clients, all within a Covid-safe environment in line with the latest government regulations.
Event tickets are capped at 300 attendees for this exclusive one-day gathering.
Book now to secure your place at the leading trade and export finance conference for the Middle East and North Africa region.
SCHUMANN Digital Credit Risk Management Conference 2021, 30 September.
The virtual SCHUMANN Conference gives attendants the opportunity to find out what is new in the world of digital credit risk management. Experts from many industries will report on the challenges due to the current economic developments and the opportunities offered by increasing digitalization.
Attendants will experience more than 40 speakers from well-known, international companies in two live streams and 30 slots. Participants from more than 20 countries have already registered.
Companies are currently faced with the need to realize corporate expansions in a way that preserves liquidity and capital, and therefore to push forward digitalization and automation in credit management. Profit from the experiences of other companies with new methods and future-orientated technologies.
The agenda will be published soon here: SCHUMANN Conference.
Registration is free of charge: https://portal.prof-schumann.com/en.
Consortia 2021, London and Virtual,19-20 October.
Blockchain is continuously being looked at by both banks and independent receivables finance providers to massively streamline their trade and receivables finance operations. The pandemic has led to a huge shift toward digital platforms, making blockchain even more relevant to ensure safe and transparent transactions.
Back for a second year, BCR’s Consortia 2021 will once again bring together the major consortiums pioneering blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) for trade and receivables finance to the business and financial community. Consortia 2021 will provide a forum for the consortiums and their prospective partners and other interested parties which will showcase and evaluate their development and future.
The event is a perfect opportunity for discussion on how blockchain and DLT are impacting trade finance and the business opportunities that these new technologies offer to banks, funders, SMEs, government bodies, trade bodies and corporates etc. 
For more information go to https://bcrpub.com/events/consortia-2021.
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
BCR’s Alternative & Receivables Finance Forum, 18 November. London.
Businesses are adapting to changing global trade patterns and facing challenges of maintaining competitive and sustainable supply chains, while continuing to optimise their costs and cashflow. They are constantly looking for new technology-enabled funding models that have potential to help companies to adapt to geopolitical shifts, the rapid growth of eCommerce and the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. The Alternative & Receivables Finance Forum is a timely opportunity for receivables finance providers and ‘alternative’ SME funders to identify openings of this new trade era, address the choices SMEs are making to fill financial gaps, learn from the top industry players how the receivables finance sector is rebuilding and expanding after Covid. Join #ARF21 by booking your ticket at https://bcrpub.com/events/alternative-and-receivables-finance-2021. Professional Development.
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: SCHUMANN
At SCHUMANN we optimise the management of risk for credit, surety, political risk insurers and export credit agencies. Our software solutions and risk models are setting the future technological standards for the industry.
We are an open-minded and learning organisation which invests heavily in research and development, often with our partners at the University of Goettingen. We aim to stay ahead of the competition with our cutting edge technology.
We value our independence, and are happy to work with any data provider or partner of your choice. We favour long term partnerships. We invest all of our resources into our customer relationships, and as a result have never lost a customer in our 24 year history.
CAM Credit and Surety enables our customers to automate risk assessment and underwriting processes, while our artificial intelligence handles complex workflows with ease, enabling customers to remain compliant with their regulatory environment.
A SCHUMANN software solution is both future proof and the most robust on the market – it will provide decades of service and will never let you down.
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