Payment delays have remained largely stable and payment duration improved. Bankruptcy and failed collection attempts remain top reasons for write-offs.
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Despite efforts of food exporters to diversify shipments away from Britain, a hard Brexit remains a major challenge, also for shipments to mainland Europe.
Growth is set to continue, but the strong export orientation makes many food businesses susceptible to trade disputes and price/currency fluctuations.
Many meat processors and producers suffer from higher procurement prices, while their ability to pass on those increases to retailers is limited.
Even the biggest food retailers are small compared to other major international players, and e-commerce is increasingly challenging traditional businesses.
The new Mexican government could launch policies in order to increase domestic production and put emphasis on domestic agricultural support programmes.
Higher input costs have increased the pressure on margins in recent years, with a recent draught in Australia having and additional negative impact.
The number of protracted payments in the sector is rather high as larger businesses use their leverage against suppliers by demanding long payment terms.
The UK leaving the EU without a deal would be a major disruption, causing business insolvencies to be higher in the UK and EU27.
The USMCA has finally been signed on November 30, easing short-term uncertainty surrounding North American trade.
The main potential downside risk for the industry is a deterioration in orders from main buyer industries, especially from the automotive sector.