How high is the non-payment risk in your sector? Find out in our latest sector risk report

The highest probability of unpaid invoices is found in the construction, textile and metallurgy sectors.

This is clear from our sector risk rating report. In total, 18 sectors were examined in 70 countries.

The risk of non-payment is increasing in almost all sectors. This is a logical consequence of difficult economic conditions and declining growth. Global GDP growth will fall to +2.5% this year, its lowest level since 2019.

Johan Geeroms, our Director Risk Underwriting Benelux says: “We also expect limited growth in advanced economies for 2024. With months of recession here and there, but we consider the risk of a deep general recession to be low.”

Our experts used 4 criteria for sector risk rating:

  • Product demand
  • Profitability
  • Liquidity
  • Business environment
“Globally, we are seeing a widespread increase in the risk of non-payment. Although we see differences depending on the region. It is in Asia that the risk has increased relatively the least, while the countries of South America appear to be the riskiest countries. And in Europe, the risk of non-payment is higher than in the United States.”

“By sector, pharmaceuticals, software and IT services are highest rated. Construction, textile and metallurgy are the least rated.”


This result does not surprise Johan Geeroms at all. These are sectors that are very sensitive to high energy prices. Rising interest rates are also hitting the construction sector hard. It is especially in Europe that construction companies are in difficulty. Let’s also think about the increase in wages and the cost of raw materials compared to pre-Covid. On top of that, property prices are also falling. Our report also cites regulations (including environmental) as a major obstacle.


Johan Geeroms on the metallurgical industry: “On the energy level, it's the same story. The metallurgical industry is a very energy-intensive sector which has benefited for years from cheap Russian gas. The European metal industry had already sounded the alarm last year. Although energy prices have fallen, they remain very high on average. It is especially the base metals industry which is going through a difficult period. Zinc and aluminium, for example.”


But, according to Johan Geeroms, the textile industry is taking hits from both sides in terms of energy. “High energy prices don’t just affect production and transportation. Fossil fuels are also an important raw material for textile production. Two thirds of all textiles are made from synthetic fiber.”

Johan Geeroms particularly warns SMEs against the risk of non-payment: “Companies must be particularly vigilant. A single large unpaid invoice can put an SME in difficulty. Liquidity problems can also arise when payment of unpaid invoices is increasingly delayed. One company contaminates another. The result is a domino effect.”

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