Equifax Quarterly Commercial Insights: September 2023

  • Overall business credit applications reduced by -5.2% (vs September quarter 2022)
  • Business loan applications decreased by -8.8% (vs September quarter 2022)
  • Trade credit applications fell by -3.5% (vs September quarter 2022)
  • Asset finance applications increased by +5.2% (vs September quarter 2022)

SYDNEY – October 2023 – Commercial credit demand fell by -5.2% in Q3, marking the largest year-on-year drop in demand since 2021 according to the latest data from Equifax, the leading provider of credit information and analysis in Australia and New Zealand.

According to the Equifax Quarterly Commercial Insights - September 2023, the decline in overall business credit demand was driven by decreasing business loan applications (-8.8%) and trade credit applications (-3.5%), both of which fell in Q3 2023 versus the same period last year. Asset finance applications continue to buck the trend, increasing +5.2% in Q3. 

Insolvency rates at the total market level increased by +11% in September 2023 vs the same month in 2022, and up +128% vs the same month 2 years ago. The construction industry recorded the largest share of insolvencies in Q3, at 31.5% of all cases recorded.

Scott Mason, General Manager Commercial and Property Services, Equifax, said: “Higher interest rates and overall market uncertainty has led to subdued trade credit and business loan demand this quarter, contributing to a greater than expected drop in overall commercial credit demand. This has been compounded by a decline in discretionary spending as household savings ratios drop and consumers’ spending power falls - putting pressure on businesses. Despite these challenges, however, demand still remains above pre-pandemic levels.”

According to Equifax data, the 2022-23 financial year saw the lowest growth in the number of Australian businesses since FY 2019-20. The 2022-23 financial year ended with neutral net growth of 0.8% in the number of Australian businesses, with an annual entry rate of 15.8% and exit rate of 15.0%. This is a significant drop from the previous financial year, which netted at 7% growth. 

“The tougher economic climate is having an impact on many businesses, with some of Australia’s largest industries seeing negative growth in overall business numbers.

“The construction industry, for example, recorded the first negative growth in business entities since 2019. All construction subdivisions had higher exit rates compared to previous financial years, and the industry saw a record high number of defaults at 25% above last financial year.

“Similarly, the retail sector is feeling the effects of reduced consumer spending. The industry experienced -1.4% negative growth in entities in FY 2022-23, compared to growth of +7.1% last year,” Mr Mason said. 

Business credit demand September 2023 vs September 2022:

Overall business credit applications reduced (-5.2%) in the June quarter 2023. WA (+6%) and SA (+4%) were the only geographies to see growth in overall business credit demand; VIC (-9%), NSW (-8%) and ACT (-8%), TAS (-4%) and QLD (-2%) all experienced declines.

Business loan applications decreased -8.8% in Q3. VIC (-14%), NSW (-13%) and ACT (-10%) saw the greatest declines, followed by TAS (-5%) and QLD (-3%). WA (+7%) and SA (+4%) saw business loan demand increase in Q3.

Trade credit applications fell in Q3 2023 (-3.5%) with all states either flat or recording a decline. There was no change in demand in WA; NSW (-7%) and TAS (-7%) experienced the largest declines, followed by ACT (-4%), QLD (-3%), SA (-2%) and VIC (-1%).

Asset finance (+5.2%) was the only commercial product type that reported an increase year-on-year in the September quarter. SA (+9%), WA (+7%) and VIC (+7%) experienced the biggest increases in demand, followed by NSW (+5%) and QLD (+3%). The ACT (-4%) and TAS (-1%) saw asset finance demand decline this quarter. 

IMAGE 1: Equifax Commercial Credit Demand Index – September 2023 Quarter

IMAGE 2: Equifax Commercial Credit Demand Index by categories of credit – September 2023 Quarter

IMAGE 3: Business Loan Applications State Overview, 2023 Q3

IMAGE 4: Asset Finance Applications State Overview, 2023 Q3


At Equifax (NYSE: EFX), we believe knowledge drives progress. As a global data, analytics, and technology company, we play an essential role in the global economy by helping financial institutions, companies, employers, and government agencies make critical decisions with greater confidence. Our unique blend of differentiated data, analytics, and cloud technology drives insights to power decisions to move people forward. Headquartered in Atlanta and supported by more than 14,000 employees worldwide, Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region. For more information, visit www.equifax.com.au or follow the company’s news on LinkedIn.


The Equifax Quarterly Commercial Insights (formerly Business Credit Demand Index) measures the volume of credit applications that go through the Equifax Commercial Bureau by financial services credit providers in Australia. Based on this, it is considered to be a good measure of intentions to acquire credit by businesses. This differs from other market measures published by the RBA/ABS, which measure new and cumulative dollar amounts that are actually approved by financial institutions.

Purpose of Equifax media releases:
The information in this release does not constitute legal, accounting or other professional financial advice. The information may change, and Equifax does not guarantee its currency or accuracy. To the extent permitted by law, Equifax specifically excludes all liability or responsibility for any loss or damage arising out of reliance on information in this release and the data in this report, including any consequential or indirect loss, loss of profit, loss of revenue or loss of business opportunity. 

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