To fill temporary liquidity gaps and maintain healthy cash flow, 55% of companies polled in Belgium said they requested trade credit from their suppliers as an alternative to bank loans.
The Atradius Payment Practices Barometer is an annual survey of business-to-business (B2B) payment practices in markets across the world. Its findings can give valuable insights into the current dynamics of corporate payment behaviour in B2B trade. It can also help companies doing business, or planning to do so, in the markets polled to identify emerging future trends in the payment practices of B2B customers.
The 2023 Payment Practices Barometer survey for Belgium was conducted between the end of Q1 and the beginning of Q2 2023. Its findings should therefore be viewed with this in mind.
Key takeaways from the report for Belgium
Trade credit becomes key in business financing decisions
- To fill temporary liquidity gaps and maintain healthy cashflow, 55% of companies polled in Belgium said they requested trade credit from their suppliers as a short-term liquidity source. This was preferable to seeking bank loans in a time of high interest rates forced by tighter monetary policy. However, a majority of companies received less trade credit than requested, a clear signal of financial distress among Belgian businesses.
- In particular, SME wholesalers in the consumer durables sector reported this, suffering a heightened risk of liquidity shortages because they could not pass on rising input costs to highly price-sensitive B2B customers. This necessary step of absorbing extra costs to keep prices stable was seen across various sectors in Belgium. It triggered an average 30% increase in payment delays during the past 12 months.
Concern about hindrances to business growth amid cautious optimism
- Various factors that could hinder business growth in the year ahead are particular concerns for companies polled in Belgium. One of the main worries reported by Belgian businesses was a sluggish recovery of the global economy this year, along with domestic and international competitive pressure suffered particularly by businesses in the consumer durables sector where elasticity of demand is very high. Companies in the construction sector reported anxiety about the high prices of construction materials.
- 55% more companies polled than last year said they were confident that payment behaviour of their B2B customers would improve during the coming months. This was not the case, however, for businesses in the Belgian construction sector, who told us they were pessimistic and fear increasing strain on their cash flow.
Interested in finding out more?
Please download the full report for a complete overview of the 2023 survey findings of the Atradius Payment Practices Barometer for Belgium.
For a complete overview of the survey results for Western Europe, please download the full report available in the Related documents section below. The Statistical Appendix to the regional report is also available for download in the section below.
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