Equifax Quarterly Commercial Insights: December 2023

  • Overall business credit applications reduced by -0.9% (vs December quarter 2022)
  • Business loan applications decreased by -4.1% (vs December quarter 2022)
  • Trade credit applications fell by -0.4% (vs December quarter 2022)
  • Asset finance applications increased by +8.9% (vs December quarter 2022)


SYDNEY – February 2024 – Commercial credit demand fell by -0.9% in Q4, reflecting varying market conditions across the states 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 - December 2023, the decline in overall business credit demand was driven by decreasing business loan applications (-4.1% vs the same period in 2022) and flat trade credit applications (-0.4%). Asset finance applications continue to buck the trend, increasing +8.9% in Q4. 

Of all the states, Victoria had the largest decline in business loan applications in Q4, driven by significant drops in demand in the accommodation and food services (-37%) and construction (-16%) sectors.

Scott Mason, General Manager Commercial and Property Services, Equifax, said: “We are seeing some distinct differences in demand across the states, which led to mixed credit demand performance in Q4. For example, low business loan demand from the commercial centres of Victoria and NSW was offset by growth in WA, SA and Queensland. Similarly, high trade credit demand in WA, SA and Queensland offset reduced demand in NSW and the ACT.

“The increases in demand across all credit types in WA and SA could be reflective of a recent resurgence in the mining sector, which has benefited from stronger commodity prices.”

Insolvency rates at the total market level increased by +44% in the December quarter 2023 vs the same period in 2022. The construction industry continues to record high levels of insolvency, up 28% in Q4 2023 vs Q4 2022. 

“Total insolvencies in 2023 consistently surpassed pre-Covid (2019) volumes, due to challenging market conditions seen throughout 2023. This trend continued through to the end of the year, with December having the highest monthly insolvency volumes in the past five years,” said Mr Mason. 

Average days beyond terms (DBT) across the market increased to 6.5 days in Q4, up 44% or 2 days compared to the same quarter in 2022. The construction industry continues to outpace the market, paying their dues on average 10 days beyond terms.

Business credit demand December 2023 vs December 2022:

Overall business credit applications reduced (-0.9%) in the December quarter 2023. WA (+14%) and SA (+13%) experienced strong positive growth, followed by QLD (+4%). Conversely, VIC saw the largest decrease in business credit applications (-9%), followed by NSW (-2%). The ACT (-0%) and TAS (-0%) were flat in Q4.

Business loan applications decreased -4.1% in Q4. VIC (-16%) and NSW (-6%) saw the greatest declines, followed by TAS (-3%). WA (+17%), SA (+16%) and QLD (+3%) saw business loan demand increase in Q4, while ACT (-0%) was flat.

Trade credit applications fell marginally in Q4 2023 (-0.4%). There was no change in demand in QLD (-0%), while NSW (-6%) and ACT (-6%) experienced declining demand. SA (+6%), TAS (+6%), WA (+5%) and VIC (+2%) all saw growth in trade credit demand.

Asset finance (+8.9%) experienced strong demand growth in the December quarter, with applications up in all states. WA (+12%) and NSW (+10%) experienced the biggest increases in demand, followed closely by SA (+9%), VIC (+8%), QLD (+8%), TAS (+8%) and ACT (+4%). 

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

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

IMAGE 3: Business Loan Applications State Overview, 2023 Q4

IMAGE 4: Asset Finance Applications State Overview, 2023 Q4

ABOUT EQUIFAX INC.
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 nearly 15,000 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.

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NOTE TO EDITORS
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.

DISCLAIMER
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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