Downward trend for national trade in second quarter 2022

Reading Time 3 minutes | Written by Michiel Scheepens | July 22, 2022

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Rotterdam, 22 July 2022 - The rebound in trade intensity since early 2022 has given way to a downward trend in the Netherlands. April still showed a nice increase in trade intensity in many sectors, but in May and June the index fell again. The total decline in June was 10 percent, resulting in the lowest reading (80.1) for the end of June 2022 since October 2021. This is according to the quarterly analysis of the trade intensity index by Altares Dun & Bradstreet. This index collects and processes monthly company and invoice data from the Dutch market. The reference point is January 2020 (=100%).

For the latest calculation Altares Dun & Bradstreet used the payment figures of 250,000 companies in the Netherlands. By examining the number of invoices sent and other (anonymous) financial data, the business data specialist sees that various sectors are catching up. A higher number of invoices sent and collected in these sectors (usually) indicates economic recovery and growing confidence in the economy.

Against the general downward trend shown by many sectors in June 2022, the hospitality and retail sectors showed a slight upward trend. All of these sectors had a decline in the month of May, but showed an increase again in June, presumably due to the continued nice weather. All other sectors are no exception to the sharp decline due to various macroeconomic factors: persistent inflation, the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, etc.

Hospitality and retail sector recovering

In March 2022, the index for restaurants and cafes was still at 100.7, now it is 93.9. This means that at the beginning of Q2, this sector was trading more than before the corona crisis, but this has since fallen back somewhat as the sector picked up after the lockdown was lifted. It is expected that the slightly upward trend will continue.

For the retail sector, the index stood at 94.6 in March 2022, which has now fallen to 91.6, although there was a slight increase in June compared with May. For the retail sector, consumers do not seem to have given up completely for the time being, although it remains to be seen how long this trend will continue. In fact, the CBS recently reported another decline in consumer confidence for the month of June, which is also expected to translate into a slight decline in the trade intensity index for the coming period.

A turning point for the construction industry

The construction industry is one of the sectors that has been hit the hardest in recent years. The sector showed a visible recovery in Q1, with the index rising from 74.0 in December 2021 to 80.3 in March 2022. After a slight rise in April to 84.9, a turning point came for the sector, after which the index dropped back to 77.2 in June 2022. With an index of 77.2, construction still has more than 20 percentage points to go before it returns to pre-corona levels. The decline in Q2 can be explained in part by the increase in the price of raw materials, which is hitting the construction sector tremendously.

Joris Peeters, Chief Data Scientist Benelux at Altares Dun & Bradstreet: "This decline in trade comes as no surprise to us. Political and economic institutions are concerned about inflation. According to the CBS, the inflation rate in June was 8.6%. This high inflation has negative consequences for households, who lose purchasing power, and thus for the economy in general. The authorities are therefore taking measures, such as raising interest rates, to calm economic activity and return to more manageable inflation rates."

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Michiel Scheepens

Marketing Leader Benelux

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