How has the chemicals sector performed in the last couple months?
The chemicals sector is one of Belgiums major industries, with sales amounting to 1.6% and exports as much as an 8.4% worldwide share. The main subsectors are basic chemicals, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and plastics/rubber. According to Essenscia, the Belgian Chemical Association, turnover in the sector decreased 25% year-on-year in 2009, while exports and imports fell 4.3% and 6.4% respectively.
However, the repercussions of the economic slowdown on chemicals were limited in comparison to other industries, and the business health of this truly international-oriented sector [80% of local production is exported] has improved, with new orders up since the beginning of the year as worldwide demand for chemical products returns.
What is the current trend in payment delays, payment defaults and insolvencies?
Within Belgium, payment behaviour is excellent, with 80% or more payments made by due date. The insolvency rate in this sector is quite low compared to other industries. The Crédito y Caucións experience is that the volume and number of payment defaults in this sector are far below the average for all industries.
What is the Credito y Caución approach to the sector?
We assess the current performance of all subsectors [basic chemicals, energy and fuel, rubber, plastics, pharmaceuticals] to be good, and our short-term outlook remains favourable. We have a positive underwriting approach to the industry, including newly established businesses.
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