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Established in 1939, the Institute of Credit Management is Europe's largest association for the credit management profession

ICM UK Credit Managers’ Index shows more signs of economic recovery

Press Release – 27 February 2014

Confidence levels among UK credit managers have shown sustained signs of improvement, and companies are improving the speed with which they collect the cash according to the latest ICM Credit Managers’ Index (CMI – Q4 2013).

With a headline index of 58.5 for Q4, the index is 1.3 points higher than the third quarter of 2013 (57.2), a 9.1 point year-on-year increase andin line with the major economic indicators (GDP up 0.7%).

The Manufacturing sector has again continued to show signs of improvement to 57.6 (from 56.1 vs UK production output gain of 0.7%); confidence within the Services sector also slightly improved, rising 1.2 points to 59.0 (vs UK services output increase of 0.8%).

Favourable factors across both sectors have taken a slight downward turn, dropping by 2.2 to 67.5. The figures behind this decrease have included a drop in the number of new applications (-3.8 to 61.1) as well as a downturn in sales (1.4). The index for order book has also taken a slight dip by 1.5 points to 70.3 – but still significantly ahead of the 50-point threshold.

The index of unfavourable factors, which improved for the first time in seven quarters in Q3, have improved again by 2.8 points to 54.7, although show a somewhat mixed picture. Days Sales Outstanding (DSO – the measure of the average number of days that a company takes to collect the money after a sale has been made) has shown a marked improvement (up 2.4 to 56.2), and the index relating to the number of credit applications that were rejected increased (up 2.7 points to 51.5).

Philip King, Chief Executive of the ICM, says that there is much room for optimism: “There are clear signs of a recovery but a danger that they are being hampered by a slow down in credit sales, new credit applications and order book across the board. However, all of the seven unfavourable factors improved with only one (disputes) under the 50 threshhold. Interestingly, for the combined index, all three favourable factors fell in Q4 – but all were still positive and two were over 70 points.”

Geographically – only Northern Ireland was (badly) in the red at 37.5 – the rest of the UK was green. In terms of sectors, only businesses involved in the area of basic metals were in the red (44.4), Food & Beverage and Telecoms were at amber, the remainder green.

The latest CMI prompted 500 responses from credit managers working in both the Manufacturing and Services sectors. The companies were broadly split by region, although slightly weighted to businesses in London and the southeast.

The CMI is a diffusion index, producing ‘scores’ of between one and 100 (typically in a range of 40 – 60). Ten equally weighted factors are included – three favourable and seven unfavourable – and the index calculated on a simple average of the 10 factors.

 

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About

The Institute of Credit Management (ICM) is Europe’s largest credit management organisation, and the second largest globally. The trusted leader in expertise for all credit matters, it represents the profession across trade, consumer and export credit, and all credit-related services. Formed over 70 years ago, it is the only such organisation accredited by Ofqual and it offers a comprehensive range of services and bespoke solutions for the credit professional as well as services and advice for the wider business community, including the acclaimed ICM/BIS Managing Cashflow Guides (www.icm.org.uk).

For news, views and updates, follow the ICM on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ICMorg.

For further press information, please contact:

Sean Feast or Alex Simmons
Gravity Public Relations
0207 330 8810
email asimmons@gravitylondon.com