CLICK TO ENLARGEKUALA LUMPUR: The payment trend to creditors showed a recovery in the third and fourth quarters of last year, according to the Trade Bureau platform of Experian Information Services (Malaysia). Chief executive officer Dawn Lai said this positive trend was likely due to most of the Malaysian economy re-opening post the movement control order (MCO) and business activity resuming to some normalcy since June 2020. “This, coupled with the government’s ongoing implementation of the Prihatin and Penjana economic stimulus packages, have contributed to enhanced business activity which has helped boost market confidence, ” she said in a statement yesterday. The statement was issued in conjunction with Experian Malaysia’s release of its latest Industry Debts Turned Cash (i-DTC) indicators, which measured payment data from the first quarter of 2019 to fourth quarter of 2020. i-DTC measures the average number of days that companies take to pay their creditors after the invoice date. The study examined seven industries: construction, hospitality and food/beverage, manufacturing, retail, services, transportation and storage, and wholesale. Overall, the average i-DTC for the seven industries rose to 88 days in June 2020, up 10 days compared to April 2020. However, the payment trend eased to 74 days in November 2020, which was comparable to the pre-Covid-19 period, Experian said. The latest December 2020 data showed a slight uptick of two days to 76 days overall, as Malaysia announced an extension of its recovery MCO to end-March 2021. “Industries, on the whole, are still able to maintain their payment for now due largely to ongoing government measures, but the increase of two days in December 2020 may be indicative of a start of a reversion to cash preservation strategies by businesses as some Malaysia localities impose stricter movement controls, ” Experian said. Comparing data from July till December 2020, based on a month-on-month comparison, all seven industries saw an improvement in i-DTC days with three industries registering the largest improvements. The three industries are hospitality and food/beverage industry (18 days), retail (16 days) and construction industry (15 days). The latest December 2020 data showed that six industries recorded a month-on-month increase, with manufacturing (up five days) and wholesale (up four days) seeing the highest increases. Lai noted several downside risks moving into 2021, including the ongoing political uncertainty, the sharper resurgence of Covid-19 cases and the MCO reinstatement, which might impede Malaysian firms’ business outlook in making timely repayments. In light of unprecedented challenges of today’s economy, she advised businesses, especially micro small and medium enterprises, to remain vigilant on payments to ensure long-term sustainability and to adopt available online credit management tools. — Bernama
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