Germany's corporate payment survey: a better year, particularly for exporters
Coface carried out its second payment survey for Germany this year, making it possible to compare results between the two surveys. Generally speaking, many of the foregone tendencies were somewhat confirmed in 2017. In some aspects, however, improvements can be detected in the payment situations of German companies. The German survey showed that, once again, despite the country’s solid economic situation, nearly 78% of companies are affected by delays in payments. Nevertheless, this ratio has declined by more than 6 percentage points within a year. The positive situation of German companies is also reflected in their assessment of a slight reduction in the financial volumes of outstanding receivables over the past year. Payment delays for the companies surveyed remain within manageable temporary limits. Potential liquidity risks from very long overdue receivables are thus comparably low and are less than in 2016. As a consequence of the improved macroeconomic environment worldwide, the payment experience of export-oriented companies is markedly better than last year. This could also be linked to greater caution in the granting of credit periods.
The picture across business sectors is mixed. According to Coface's calculations, payment delays amount to 41.4 days on a cross-sector average, as in the 2016 survey. Nevertheless, some segments report much longer payment delays, particularly the Textiles/Leather/ Clothing Industries (54.5 days), Wood/ Furniture (53.8 days) and Transportation (50.5 days). The Mechanics/Precision (25.0 days) and Automotives (31.9 days) sectors experienced the shortest overdue periods.
Questioned on their expectations regarding overdues, the “optimists” and “pessimists” are fairly balanced. While Paper/Packaging/ Printing and Textiles/Leather/Clothing in particular expect a worsening, Wood/Furniture, Agriculture/Food and Transportation anticipate significant improvements. As concerns the upcoming Brexit, only the Automotives, Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics/ Precision Industry sectors are slightly more cautious on payment risks. Companies in the Automotives and Mechanical Engineering industries have particularly close trading ties to the United Kingdom.
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