Equifax Quarterly Commercial Insights: December 2022

  • Overall business credit applications reduced by -1.0% (vs December quarter 2021)
  • Business loan applications decreased by -1.3% (vs December quarter 2021)
  • Trade credit applications fell by -1.0% (vs December quarter 2021)
  • Asset finance applications declined by -0.2% (vs December quarter 2021)

SYDNEY – February 2023 – Business credit demand decreased year-on-year in the December quarter, with commercial enquiry volumes falling across all product types.

The data has been released today by Equifax, the leading provider of credit information and analysis in Australia and New Zealand, in line with the Equifax Quarterly Commercial Insights - December 2022 (formerly Business Credit Demand Index). The Index measures the volume of credit applications for trade credit, business loans and asset finance.

According to Equifax, demand for asset finance declined the least in Q4, followed by trade credit and business loan applications.

Asset finance applications were flat in the December quarter, falling marginally (-0.2%) compared to the same quarter in 2021, and fell -3.8% vs Q4 2020.

Business loan applications fell -1.3% in the December quarter compared to the same period in 2021, but remain higher than the same quarter 2020 (+18%). Similarly, trade credit demand fell -1.0% in Q4 compared to the previous year, but was +2.2% higher than Q4 2020.

Scott Mason, General Manager Commercial and Property Services, Equifax, said: “After a short period of growth in Q3 2022, business credit demand has dipped in the face of inflation, rising interest rates and general uncertainty. As a lead indicator, the fall in business credit demand in Q4 suggests the Australian economy may also flatten over coming months.

“We’re starting to see the impact of these pressures in our days beyond terms data. Across the market, average days beyond terms decreased throughout 2022, but began trending upwards again in the December quarter. Construction, education and the arts sectors all feature in the top five industries that are the slowest to pay dues. 

“Interestingly, despite relatively strong consumer spending over the festive season, the retail trade industry has seen a considerable spike in late payments - days beyond terms for this sector climbed from 2.9 to 3.9 days over the quarter,” Mr Mason said.

Insolvency rates in Q4 2022 increased by +49% vs the same period in 2021, with volumes surpassing pre-Covid levels in December after rising steadily throughout 2022.

Construction insolvencies remain high, up +59% in December 2022 vs the same month in 2021, and up +85% for the financial year to date. 

Business credit demand December 2022 vs December 2021:

Overall business credit applications declined by -1.0% in the December quarter 2022. VIC (+4%) was the only state that recorded an increase in Q4. QLD (-4%), ACT (-4%)* and NT (-4%)* saw the largest declines, followed by SA (-3%), NSW (-2%), WA (-2%) and TAS (-1%).

Business loan applications decreased -1.3% in Q4, with mixed performances across the states. TAS (+4%), VIC (+3%), WA (+1%) and SA (+1%) saw business loan demand increase in Q4, while NSW (-2%), QLD (-6%), the ACT (-8%)* and NT (-9%)* saw declines.

Trade credit applications were lower in Q4 2022 (-1.0%). Positive demand was recorded in ACT (+4%)* and VIC (+1%), while NSW (+0%) and QLD (+0%) were flat. SA (-7%) saw the largest decline followed by  WA (-5%), TAS (-5%) and NT (-2%)*.

Asset finance applications were flat (-0.2%) year-on-year. VIC (+9%) and NT (+4%)* saw growth in demand, while all other states declined. SA recorded the largest fall (-7%), followed by TAS (-6%), WA (-5%), QLD (-4%), NSW (-3%) and ACT (-1%)*.

*Low volumes

IMAGE 1: Equifax Commercial Credit Demand Index – December 2022 Quarter

IMAGE 2: Equifax Commercial Credit Demand Index by categories of credit – December 2022 Quarter

IMAGE 3: Business Loan Applications State Overview, 2022 Q4

IMAGE 4: Asset Finance Applications State Overview, 2022 Q4


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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