National trade barely rebounded during Q4 2021

Reading Time 4 minutes | Written by Anne de Geus | March 9, 2022

Press releases

Rotterdam, March 9, 2022 National business-to-business trade in the last quarter of 2021 was still far from its pre-corona crisis level. Compared to January 2020 (index: 100), trade intensity in December was at 79.7, a drop of more than 20 percent. This is what Altares Dun & Bradstreet says after analysing the latest figures for the calendar year.

Altares Dun & Bradstreet has the payment figures of over 360,000 companies in the Netherlands. By screening the number of invoices sent and other (anonymous) financial data, the company sees that the downward trend in the economy continued at the end of 2021. A lower number of invoices sent and collected indicates a less active economy. The lockdown was partly to blame, but several industries faced other problems.

Shortages push construction into the red

The construction industry was still one of the hardest hit at the end of 2022. With an index of 74, payment volume for this industry fell by about a quarter since January 2020. Construction was struggling to get raw materials, and a severe labor shortage was also hurting the sector.

Retail scrambles to recover

Retail seemed to be the fastest to recover from the pandemic by the end of 2021. Even in the face of the lockdown and its threat, retail came in at 84 percent of its January 2020 level. On a side note, December is normally a peak time for retail in relation to the holidays: in December 2020, the industry also recovered quite well. Hotels (index 84.7) and government (88.3) were the only sectors that came even closer to the old level at the end of last year.

David Verheecke, Managing Director Benelux at Altares Dun & Bradstreet: "The end of the lockdown and the stop on corona measures put everyone in a cheerful mood. Optimism is good, but so is realism. Rising energy costs and inflation are depressing consumer and producer confidence. We must now wait and see what the impact of the war in Ukraine will be. The expectation is that it is not positive. Trade is therefore nowhere near the level it was before the pandemic and the first figures for 2022 do not point in that direction either."

Read the entire report here.

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Anne de Geus

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