According to a study, companies around the world waited longer for their bills to be paid last year than in the previous year. In a study presented on Friday, the credit insurer Allianz Trade sees this as a clear indication of rising insolvency risks worldwide. "Overall, we expect around 15 percent more bankruptcies this year than in 2022 and thus a normalization of insolvency," said Milo Bogaerts, head of Allianz Trade for German-speaking countries. The trend with poorer payment practices is likely to continue in 2023 – both worldwide and in Germany.

According to the insurer's observations, global payment practices deteriorated more sharply last year than in the previous seven years. On average, invoices in 2022 were paid only after 59 days, five days later than in the previous year. Between 2015 and 2021, the period in which suppliers become lenders to their customers as an "invisible bank" had only been extended by four days.

Chinese pay only after 54 days

"Payment practices are an important harbinger of payment delays and defaults as well as bankruptcies," says Maxime Lemerle, chief analyst for insolvencies at Allianz Trade. "The longer companies have to wait for their money, the more likely they are to end up sitting on unpaid bills." 17 percent of companies worldwide are paid after 90 days, while a total of 42 percent do so for more than 60 days. According to the study, payment practices have suffered particularly in China, where the deadline was extended by ten to 54 days within a year.

Payment practices have also deteriorated in Germany, with an increase from four to 49 days. That was still ten days faster than the global average and a week earlier than usual in neighboring European countries. "That's a pretty glaring difference – but no guarantee," Bogaerts explained. According to him, the current figures confirm the good payment behavior of Germans even in these difficult times.