Economic Recovery in the Netherlands? Trade Intensity Increases, but Bankruptcies Rise in Q3

Reading time 5 minutes | Written by Shirley Chih | October 31, 2023

Press releases

Rotterdam, October 31, 2023 – De afgelopen maanden is er een lichte stijging te zien in de nationale handel. Vergeleken met januari 2020 (index: 100) lag de handelsintensiteit eind september 2023 in Nederland op 83.6. Dat is een stijging van 5 procent ten aanzien van het kwartaal daarvoor. In het laatste kwartaal van vorig jaar stond deze teller op zijn laagst sinds de eerste meting pre-corona (73.1). De handel tussen bedrijven is nog altijd veel lager dan vóór corona blijkt uit de data van Altares Dun & Bradstreet na analyse van de cijfers over de afgelopen drie maanden.

200.000 Dutch payment administrations

For the latest measurement, Altares Dun & Bradstreet utilized payment data from over 200,000 companies in the Netherlands. By analyzing the number of invoices sent and other (anonymous) financial data, the business data specialist observes various industries making significant recoveries. A higher number of invoices sent and collected payments in these sectors often indicates economic recovery and growing confidence in the economy.

Bankruptcies follow trade intensity

The growth of national trade intensity is primarily driven by the industries of manufacturing (+4.4), services (+3.6), and the banking and holdings sector (+8.6). In addition to growing sectors, there are also some experiencing a decline. In particular, the retail sector (-2.9), restaurants and cafes (-9.1), and the construction industry (-5.8) have faced challenging times in the past twelve months.

Barry de Goeij, senior data scientist at Altares Dun & Bradstreet "Trade intensity is an early indicator for bankruptcies, so based on these figures, we also expect to see a slight increase in the number of bankruptcies during the last quarter of this year. We can observe that the economy is maintaining its course in many respects, with no significant change in sight. In economic cycle clock of CBS we notice a reduced consumer confidence and an increase in job vacancies due to labor market tightness. It's no coincidence that sectors showing no growth have been most impacted by this. While the hospitality sector was above the benchmark at 100.7 at the end of Q1 2022 due to pent-up demand, we now see this sector under pressure and shrinking further to the current 85.2. In the construction sector, we see significantly fewer (new) construction projects getting off the ground due to rising interest rates and a shrinking customer base caused by higher mortgage rates."

No wave of bankruptcies

Simultaneously, we are witnessing an increase in the number of bankruptcies. In Q3, there were 789 bankruptcies, marking a 7.5 percent increase compared to the previous quarter and nearly 70 percent more than in the same period last year. Leading the way are the trade sector (154), construction industry (111), and specialized business services (98). De Goeij explains: "We can't yet talk about a wave of bankruptcies. The number of bankruptcies is rising but still lower than pre-corona levels. The signals I'm currently seeing don't lead me to suspect that a wave is imminent."

De Goeij concludes: "In general, it has been a stable year; we are slowly returning to business as usual. The support measures have kept many companies afloat. Repayment of the NOW support has now begun, which may potentially affect the hospitality and restaurant sectors the most. The question is how the government will handle this and what the impact will be on the affected businesses. We probably won't see this reflected in the fourth-quarter figures."

You can view the entire report here.

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Shirley Chih

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