UAE payments survey: slight payment delays expected, due to slower growth
At a time when businesses are facing a decline in demand and liquidity issues, a sharper look into payment behaviour is a must.
Through the initiative of Coface, a world leader in trade credit management and risk information services, a credit opinion survey across the UAE was rolled out in order to map out major shifts and prevailing trends in company payments.
The method was strategic and the objective was fundamental: to study how businesses make and receive payments, generating a wealth of economic data and market insights that can support stakeholders in making better informed decisions.
The diversified economy of the UAE has weath-ered the volatility of a difficult year, with experts reporting signs of strong recovery. Today, at a time when businesses are getting back on track, revisiting credit policies and realigning strategies, a knowledge of key payment trends comes in handy.
Coface ran for the first time ever its Credit Opinion Survey. This is a tool dedicated to understand payment behaviors of the companies. Coface has launched this survey for several years in several countries including China, Morocco, China and Germany. The survey in the United Arab Emirates was the first to be launched in this region.
Coface expects growth performance of the region with slight recovery vs 2016, due to stabilized oil price at 55 USD, slower growth performance in China and struggling trade volumes around the world. Therefore we have slightly revised up our real GDP growth rate expectation for 2017 to 2.5% from 2.3% previous year. This indicates a moderate increase only in economic activity, compared with the period of 2010-2015 when the average growth stood at 4.2%.
In line with this moderate growth in business environment, payment terms lengthen. Lower sale volumes and tighten liquidity from the banking system result in willingness to keep the cash within the companies by delaying payments. Indeed, this survey would allow readers to understand the situation of the companies from different sectors and sizes in the UAE. Some of them are mostly exportdriven companies while the rest is mostly focused on domestic sales with less than 20% export earnings. This distinction aims to show if having clients abroad has an impact in terms of collecting receivables and payment delays. For both of the groups, the weighted average payment terms offered to customers remain between 60 to 90 days. Average payment delays seem also be very close between these two types of companies, again remaining within 30 to 60 days which is the mode value of the survey. Only in terms of offering maximum payment terms to clients, domestic sellers expressed slightly shorter periods than those who sell abroad.
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- Almost same payment experience experience for exporters and domestic sellers
- No major risk for unpaid invoices but promising future economic outlook
- Credit to consumers is a common practice
- Moderate growth in 2017