Trade intensity in the Netherlands declines in Q2 2023, contraction in the construction sector, but hope for hospitality and retail.

Leestijd 6 minuten | Geschreven door Shirley Chih | 10 augustus 2023

Press releases

Rotterdam, 10 augustus 2023 – De relatieve handelsintensiteit van Nederlandse bedrijven is in het tweede kwartaal 2023 met 1.1 procent gedaald ten opzichte van het Q1. Dit geeft aan dat de economische activiteit in Nederland eind juni 2023 op een niveau van 78.6 procent handelsintensiteit zit ten opzichte van het referentiepunt in januari 2020, toen de handelsintensiteitsindex werd vastgesteld op 100 door Altares Dun & Bradstreet.

Increase in bankruptcies, more intense trade climate.

In the first four months of 2023, there was growth in the economy, but now it seems that this growth is stagnating. Altares Dun & Bradstreet analyzes the size and number of invoice flows between companies to arrive at this conclusion.

At the same time, we are confronted with an increasing number of bankruptcies in various sectors.The analysis of the number of bankruptcies indeed confirms what we observe in trade intensity. An increase in bankruptcies often indicates a change in the trade climate. During periods of economic activity and increased trade, there are typically more bankruptcies. The total number of bankruptcies rose by 2.4% in the second quarter compared to the first quarter, with the majority occurring in the trade, construction, and hospitality sectors. These sectors together account for as much as 43.5% of the total number of bankruptcies.”, aldus Barry de Goeij, Data Scientist bij Altares Dun & Bradstreet.

Hope for hospitality and retail sector

After a notable decline in intensity in the hospitality sector in the last quarter of 2022, the sector experienced a revival in the first quarter of 2023. This positive trend continued, albeit to a slightly lesser extent, in the second quarter. The restaurant and café sector saw an increase of 1.5 points, while the hotel sector showed a growth of 0.1.

De Goeij: "The retail sector shows a slight increase of 1.4 points in trade intensity in the second quarter of 2023, compared to Q1. It remains uncertain whether the growth will continue in the third quarter, as trade intensity dipped slightly in June compared to May. However, in the long term, the sector has surprisingly held up well, providing hope for a positive economic growth."

"We have observed the economy recovering over the past two quarters from the dip we experienced in Q4 2022 and the early months of 2023," he continued. "This trend closely mirrors the consumer confidence, which has been showing signs of improvement compared to the end of 2022, but it is still not at the level we are accustomed to. This is partly influenced by the increased interest rates, leading to reduced spending; this is also evident from the decline in production," he concluded.

Contraction in construction

The construction sector is currently experiencing a decline in trade intensity. Compared to the first quarter, there is a significant decrease of 2.4 percent. Among all the measured sectors, this is the lowest index. The agriculture, horticulture, and fishing industries are the only ones still below a score of 75. This decline can be partly attributed to the lower production in the industry during the first four months of the year. Additionally, the cost crisis and the fact that fewer houses are being built also have a significant impact on this situation.

Decreasing confidence, uncertainty over trade.

"When comparing trade intensity with the number of bankruptcies, it becomes apparent that during periods of economic activity, the number of bankruptcies is generally higher. In the first four months of the year, there was still a marginal growth in the economy, but now it seems that this growth is stagnating. With consumer confidence declining again in June, according to the CBS, we need to be vigilant about potential uncertainties that could impact trade intensity," said De Goeij.


The complete economic activity report of Altares Dun & Bradstreet for Q2 2023 is available for download here.

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Shirley Chih

Marketing & Communications Officer

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