26 March 2020
N° 2020-80

In March 2020, the business climate in wholesale trade has deteriorated sharplyBi-monthly survey of wholesaling - March 2020

According to the managers surveyed in March 2020, the business climate in wholesale trade has again markedly deteriorated. The composite indicator has lost four points and stands at 99, just below its long-term average (100). The balances of opinion related to future activity have plunged and have heavily driven down the business climate indicator.

Informations rapides
No 80
Paru le : Paru le 26/03/2020
Prochaine parution le : 26/05/2020 at 08:45 - May 2020
Informations rapides  No 80 - March 2020
Warning

Given the context of the fight against the spread of COVID-19, the statistics published in this issue of Informations Rapides may be less accurate than usual. Companies’ responses were collected between 26 February and 23 March 2020. However, as of 14 March, only the responses received via the internet could be processed. In addition, many companies may have encountered difficulties in responding to the survey. Most responses were collected before 16 March 2020, the date from which schools have been closed.

According to the managers surveyed in March 2020, the business climate in wholesale trade has again markedly deteriorated. The composite indicator has lost four points and stands at 99, just below its long-term average (100). The balances of opinion related to future activity have plunged and have heavily driven down the business climate indicator.

Composite indicator

Composite indicator
Composite indicator
1998-B1 110.6
1998-B2 114.5
1998-B3 114.4
1998-B4 112.7
1998-B5 106.8
1998-B6 104.2
1999-B1 104.2
1999-B2 98.0
1999-B3 101.3
1999-B4 100.4
1999-B5 109.0
1999-B6 113.3
2000-B1 116.1
2000-B2 112.5
2000-B3 115.0
2000-B4 117.5
2000-B5 115.4
2000-B6 113.4
2001-B1 109.3
2001-B2 112.1
2001-B3 105.4
2001-B4 103.0
2001-B5 101.8
2001-B6 96.7
2002-B1 97.6
2002-B2 92.2
2002-B3 91.8
2002-B4 91.0
2002-B5 93.2
2002-B6 97.1
2003-B1 96.3
2003-B2 89.3
2003-B3 88.0
2003-B4 87.6
2003-B5 88.1
2003-B6 90.2
2004-B1 96.2
2004-B2 94.6
2004-B3 98.8
2004-B4 100.1
2004-B5 99.5
2004-B6 95.9
2005-B1 100.5
2005-B2 97.3
2005-B3 92.2
2005-B4 95.8
2005-B5 94.6
2005-B6 99.5
2006-B1 103.7
2006-B2 98.9
2006-B3 102.0
2006-B4 107.4
2006-B5 106.8
2006-B6 110.3
2007-B1 107.9
2007-B2 111.7
2007-B3 110.4
2007-B4 107.3
2007-B5 111.6
2007-B6 108.6
2008-B1 107.2
2008-B2 106.7
2008-B3 101.6
2008-B4 96.6
2008-B5 94.3
2008-B6 83.8
2009-B1 78.9
2009-B2 66.7
2009-B3 68.0
2009-B4 70.0
2009-B5 75.9
2009-B6 77.2
2010-B1 84.5
2010-B2 84.7
2010-B3 94.5
2010-B4 100.4
2010-B5 104.8
2010-B6 104.3
2011-B1 105.8
2011-B2 108.3
2011-B3 107.2
2011-B4 105.7
2011-B5 100.0
2011-B6 95.8
2012-B1 95.1
2012-B2 99.1
2012-B3 92.8
2012-B4 94.6
2012-B5 90.6
2012-B6 88.8
2013-B1 88.5
2013-B2 88.0
2013-B3 87.7
2013-B4 87.1
2013-B5 96.7
2013-B6 97.4
2014-B1 96.7
2014-B2 97.8
2014-B3 97.6
2014-B4 96.1
2014-B5 90.9
2014-B6 95.2
2015-B1 95.4
2015-B2 96.0
2015-B3 100.7
2015-B4 101.9
2015-B5 99.2
2015-B6 101.2
2016-B1 101.8
2016-B2 99.3
2016-B3 101.8
2016-B4 102.9
2016-B5 97.4
2016-B6 97.6
2017-B1 103.7
2017-B2 102.8
2017-B3 104.2
2017-B4 109.6
2017-B5 108.5
2017-B6 110.5
2018-B1 106.8
2018-B2 109.2
2018-B3 104.0
2018-B4 102.2
2018-B5 103.4
2018-B6 103.2
2019-B1 99.4
2019-B2 105.3
2019-B3 107.1
2019-B4 105.9
2019-B5 106.0
2019-B6 105.9
2020-B1 103.5
2020-B2 99.1

Composite indicator

  • Source: INSEE - business tendency survey in wholesale trade.

The balance of opinion on general business outlook has experienced its steepest fall since the creation of the survey

All balances of opinion related to forthcoming activity have plummeted. The balance on general business outlook in the wholesale trade has shed 33 points, thus reaching -45, which is the same level as in November 2011, yet higher than the values of 2009.

The balance related to total ordering intentions has stepped back sharply. It has receded in all sub-sectors, with a particularly strong fall in the wholesale trade of industrial capital goods and that of raw agricultural products.

The outlook for wholesale trade with foreign countries has turned gloomy: the balance related to the traders’ intention to order from abroad and the balance related to shipments to be made abroad have each lost ten points or more.

All these balances of opinion stand below their long-term average, except for the balance on total ordering intentions, still close to its average.

The balances of opinion regarding past activity with connections abroad have declined

In March 2020, the balance on past sales as a whole and the balance on the volume of received merchandise have been practically steady. However, the balances regarding past activity with connections abroad have declined: the one on past sales abroad has lost four points, the one on deliveries received from abroad two points. These four balances of opinion regarding past activity stand very close to their respective average.

The balances related to workforce have significantly stepped back

The balance of opinion on past employment has withdrawn to its average. The one related to expected workforce has withdrawn as well but remains much higher than its average.

The balances of opinion on selling prices have strongly turned back

In March, the balances of opinion regarding selling prices, past as well as expected, have strongly slipped back, after an improvement of a similar scale at the end of 2019. They now lie far below their long-term average.

However, almost as many wholesalers in March as in January have considered their cash flow situation to be favourable. The related balance stays above its average.

Wholesale trade sectors

Balances of opinion in %, S.A.
Wholesale trade sectors (Balances of opinion in %, S.A.)
Ave* Sep.-19 Nov.-19 Jan.-19 March-20
Composite indicators 100 106 106 103 99
General business outlook -22 -3 -4 -12 -45
Sales -14 -9 -8 -13 -13
export sales -15 -9 -7 -12 -16
Received merchandise -9 -6 -6 -10 -9
received from abroad -10 -7 -6 -8 -10
Ordering intentions -15 -6 -9 -8 -14
ordering from abroad -15 -8 -8 -8 -18
Shipments abroad -15 -10 -7 -7 -20
Stocks 8 11 8 7 6
Past workforce -1 -1 1 3 -1
Expected workforce -2 5 5 7 5
Cash position -9 -5 -4 -4 -5
Past selling prices 7 -6 1 4 -5
Expected selling prices 14 1 7 7 0
  • * : average since september 1979
  • Source : INSEE - business tendency survey in wholesale trade

Wholesale trade sectors

Balances of opinion, in %, S.A.
Wholesale trade sectors (Balances of opinion, in %, S.A.)
Ave* Sep.-19 Nov.-19 Jan.-19 March-20
Raw agricultural products and live animals
Sales -13 -14 -21 -24 -19
Export sales -16 -6 3 -6 -27
Merchandise received from abroad -10 -10 -7 -15 -30
Ordering intentions -12 -5 -9 -7 -18
Current stock 5 19 11 8 6
Food products and beverages
Sales -14 -15 -11 -15 -15
Export sales -12 -5 -13 -9 -8
Merchandise received from abroad -13 -17 -12 2 5
Ordering intentions -11 -4 -9 -6 -12
Current stocks 5 7 3 2 7
Household goods
Sales -10 -9 -2 -5 -13
Export sales -11 -7 -5 -9 -8
Merchandise received from abroad -5 4 1 -5 -15
Ordering intentions -13 -5 -3 -8 -11
Current stock 12 15 12 10 8
Information and communication equipment
Sales -8 0 -5 -19 -4
Export sales -13 -9 -6 -11 -23
Merchandise received from abroad -7 -2 2 -18 -8
Ordering intentions -10 -2 -13 -3 -10
Current stock 8 5 1 4 -1
Other industrial capital goods
Sales -16 1 -5 -10 -13
Export sales -21 -11 -9 -11 -11
Merchandise received from abroad -11 -6 -6 -4 -4
Ordering intentions -21 -6 -11 -7 -17
Current stock 12 15 15 20 11
Other specialised wholesale trade
Sales -17 -9 -5 -14 -13
Export sales -19 -14 -9 -25 -28
Merchandise received from abroad -12 -8 -9 -18 -16
Ordering intentions -18 -12 -13 -13 -15
Current stock 6 5 6 -1 0
  • * : average since september 1979
  • Source : INSEE – business tendency survey in wholesale trade

Past activity (sales) in capital goods

Past activity (sales) in capital goods
Capital goods in information and communication Other industrial capital goods
2008-B1 -23.7 5.2
2008-B2 -5.5 4.4
2008-B3 2.8 -3.5
2008-B4 -7.0 -14.3
2008-B5 -10.8 -20.7
2008-B6 -15.4 -35.4
2009-B1 -32.7 -57.0
2009-B2 -60.4 -74.2
2009-B3 -63.9 -67.8
2009-B4 -63.0 -70.0
2009-B5 -56.5 -70.0
2009-B6 -20.5 -68.2
2010-B1 -13.5 -56.7
2010-B2 -36.0 -57.5
2010-B3 -0.5 -40.3
2010-B4 29.5 -32.9
2010-B5 19.8 -16.0
2010-B6 19.9 -18.1
2011-B1 14.6 -17.4
2011-B2 -11.2 1.8
2011-B3 0.4 6.7
2011-B4 -1.6 -0.3
2011-B5 -6.6 0.1
2011-B6 -27.6 -12.8
2012-B1 -12.2 -12.2
2012-B2 -15.9 -15.4
2012-B3 -24.1 -28.8
2012-B4 -22.6 -30.0
2012-B5 -16.2 -28.0
2012-B6 -29.9 -36.8
2013-B1 -37.1 -41.7
2013-B2 -12.4 -33.6
2013-B3 -18.5 -37.8
2013-B4 -39.0 -38.3
2013-B5 -16.7 -30.6
2013-B6 -11.6 -25.7
2014-B1 -28.3 -28.0
2014-B2 -14.4 -19.9
2014-B3 -15.1 -27.2
2014-B4 -9.7 -38.8
2014-B5 -24.0 -40.9
2014-B6 -9.3 -38.5
2015-B1 -12.5 -35.9
2015-B2 -7.5 -32.9
2015-B3 3.3 -28.6
2015-B4 -3.8 -22.4
2015-B5 -3.3 -24.6
2015-B6 -7.9 -27.8
2016-B1 0.5 -18.4
2016-B2 0.1 -21.4
2016-B3 -11.1 -17.4
2016-B4 -0.8 -17.0
2016-B5 -3.6 -24.5
2016-B6 -11.6 -19.2
2017-B1 -8.3 -16.2
2017-B2 -6.0 -12.2
2017-B3 -7.3 -6.8
2017-B4 -0.6 0.5
2017-B5 -1.3 -1.7
2017-B6 -7.0 8.9
2018-B1 -13.0 8.0
2018-B2 1.1 1.6
2018-B3 0.9 -5.0
2018-B4 7.5 -7.8
2018-B5 13.4 -6.7
2018-B6 5.8 -9.4
2019-B1 -21.4 -16.3
2019-B2 20.0 -3.2
2019-B3 10.4 -1.0
2019-B4 -20.8 -4.2
2019-B5 0.4 1.1
2019-B6 -5.2 -4.8
2020-B1 -19.1 -10.3
2020-B2 -4.4 -12.6

Past activity (sales) in capital goods

  • Source: INSEE - business tendency survey in wholesale trade.

For further information

A balance of opinion is the difference between the weighted percentage of « above normal » or « increase » answers and the weighted percentage of « below normal » or « decrease » answers.

Additional information (methodology, links, etc.) is available on the “Documentation” tab.

Next issue: 29 May 2020 at 8:45 am.

A balance of opinion is the difference between the weighted percentage of « above normal » or « increase » answers and the weighted percentage of « below normal » or « decrease » answers.

Additional information (methodology, links, etc.) is available on the “Documentation” tab.

Next issue: 29 May 2020 at 8:45 am.


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