Compared to one year ago, businesses in Asia-Pacific experienced a significant increase in the value of B2B receivables written off as uncollectable from 3.6% in 2011 to 5.0% in 2012.
According to the November edition of the Atradius Payment Practices Barometer, focusing on Asia-Pacific, over half of the survey respondents anticipate intensifying their efforts to better protect their businesses against deterioration of trade credit risk.
The November 2012 Atradius Payment Practices Barometer is based on feedback from 1,661 businesses in Australia, Mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. At overall survey level, around 30% of the total value of domestic and foreign B2B invoices issued by survey respondents in the region was unpaid at the due date. The highest percentage of overdue B2B invoices was approximately 35% in Hong Kong and the lowest less than 20% in Japan.
More than 10% of invoices remained unpaid after three months overdue and over 5% of B2B receivables were defaulted on. This percentage reached a high of 7% in India and Singapore, and a low of around 2% in Japan. The impact of the high percentage of invoices that were paid late is evidenced by the variance between the average payment term recorded in Asia-Pacific (32 days) and the average Days Sales Outstanding of 44 days.
Compared to the same survey period last year domestic payment delays due to liquidity restraints rose to 53.5% compared to 47.7% in 2011 for respondents in Asia-Pacific. Indonesian respondents (70%) experienced the most problems with past due domestic B2B receivables. Payments from foreign customers were mostly delayed because of the complexity of the payment procedure or inefficiencies of the banking system (around 45% of respondents in both cases).
To reduce payment delays and payment defaults, over half of the survey respondents (53%) anticipate checking buyers' creditworthiness more often, particularly respondents in Singapore (68.0%) and China (64.5%).
Andreas Tesch, Chief Market Officer of Atradius N.V. commented, "Atradius expects exports from the Asia-Pacific region to grow just 3.4%this year; less than half that of 2011. While we forecast another 5% reduction in insolvencies in the US and stabile insolvency environments in other primary Asia-Pacific export markets, such as China, Japan and Hong Kong, continued uncertainty in the EU, including insolvencies stabilizing at a higher level, will limit export growth. In addition, GDP growth in China, the largest export and import market in the region, is expected to again slow, to 7.7%, in 2012 and to tick up to only 8.1% in 2013 reflecting reduced exports to western customers and a potential slowdown in domestic and important demand."
Tesch concluded, "On average, the trade credit risk environment for survey respondents deteriorated in 2012. Overdue payments to respondents inched up and payment defaults climbed 25% in 2012 raising concerns about the overall trade credit risk environment. In this environment, managing trade credit risk to protect cash flow and financial stability is of great importance. Our goal is to help these businesses achieve the security they need to continue driving global growth."