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Informations Rapides · 23 September 2021 · n° 242
Informations rapidesIn September 2021, the business climate in wholesale trade has fallen backBi-monthly survey of wholesaling - September 2021

According to the business managers surveyed in September 2021, the business climate in wholesale trade has deteriorated compared to July. The composite indicator has lost three points and stands at 110, well above its long-term average (100). Wholesalers are more negative than in July about their recent activity: in particular, the balance of opinion on received merchandise from abroad has fallen back sharply and has returned below its average. The balance of opinion relative to total sales has also fallen back, while remaining above its own. At the same time, however, the judgment of wholesalers on the export sales has improved markedly.

Informations rapides
No 242
Paru le : Paru le 23/09/2021
Prochaine parution le : 24/11/2021 at 08:45 - November 2021

According to the business managers surveyed in September 2021, the business climate in wholesale trade has deteriorated compared to July. The composite indicator has lost three points and stands at 110, well above its long-term average (100). Wholesalers are more negative than in July about their recent activity: in particular, the balance of opinion on received merchandise from abroad has fallen back sharply and has returned below its average. The balance of opinion relative to total sales has also fallen back, while remaining above its own. At the same time, however, the judgment of wholesalers on the export sales has improved markedly.

Composite indicator

Composite indicator
Composite indicator
2005-B1 100.7
2005-B2 97.4
2005-B3 92.5
2005-B4 96.2
2005-B5 95.0
2005-B6 99.6
2006-B1 103.7
2006-B2 99.1
2006-B3 102.0
2006-B4 107.4
2006-B5 106.8
2006-B6 110.2
2007-B1 107.9
2007-B2 111.6
2007-B3 110.2
2007-B4 107.3
2007-B5 111.4
2007-B6 108.6
2008-B1 107.3
2008-B2 106.7
2008-B3 101.6
2008-B4 96.9
2008-B5 94.6
2008-B6 84.2
2009-B1 79.5
2009-B2 67.6
2009-B3 68.9
2009-B4 70.9
2009-B5 76.6
2009-B6 77.9
2010-B1 85.1
2010-B2 85.1
2010-B3 94.6
2010-B4 100.6
2010-B5 105.0
2010-B6 104.4
2011-B1 105.9
2011-B2 108.2
2011-B3 107.2
2011-B4 105.7
2011-B5 100.1
2011-B6 96.1
2012-B1 95.4
2012-B2 99.4
2012-B3 92.9
2012-B4 94.8
2012-B5 91.0
2012-B6 89.2
2013-B1 89.0
2013-B2 88.3
2013-B3 87.9
2013-B4 87.5
2013-B5 96.9
2013-B6 97.6
2014-B1 97.0
2014-B2 97.9
2014-B3 97.8
2014-B4 96.2
2014-B5 91.1
2014-B6 95.4
2015-B1 95.8
2015-B2 96.2
2015-B3 100.8
2015-B4 101.9
2015-B5 99.3
2015-B6 101.4
2016-B1 102.2
2016-B2 99.4
2016-B3 101.7
2016-B4 103.0
2016-B5 97.4
2016-B6 97.8
2017-B1 104.0
2017-B2 102.8
2017-B3 104.1
2017-B4 109.6
2017-B5 108.4
2017-B6 110.5
2018-B1 107.2
2018-B2 109.2
2018-B3 103.9
2018-B4 102.2
2018-B5 103.4
2018-B6 103.4
2019-B1 99.9
2019-B2 105.3
2019-B3 106.9
2019-B4 105.8
2019-B5 105.9
2019-B6 106.1
2020-B1 103.9
2020-B2 96.7
2020-B3 66.3
2020-B4 78.9
2020-B5 90.9
2020-B6 87.6
2021-B1 95.4
2021-B2 98.7
2021-B3 109.4
2021-B4 112.8
2021-B5 110.0

Composite indicator

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

The judgment of wholesalers on their recent activity has deteriorated

In September 2021, the balance of opinion of wholesalers on the development in their total sales over the last two months has fallen for the first time since July 2020, while remaining above its average. This decline concerns all sub-sectors; it is particularly marked for food products and beverages (after a very strong rebound in July) as well as for information and communication equipment.

However, wholesalers report good performance in their recent exports. The balance of opinion on export sales for the last two months has rebounded and reached its highest level since September 2007. This balance has increased particularly for raw agricultural products and “other specialized wholesale trade”, but it has clearly declined for food products and beverages as well as information and communication equipment.

The balance of opinion on received merchandise from abroad has gone down markedly, returning below its average. This decrease concerns all the wholesale trade sub-sectors, except that of food products and beverages, where the corresponding balance is stable at a low level.

The opinion of wholesalers on the general business outlook has deteriorated but remains favourable

The expectations of wholesalers remain fairly optimistic. Admittedly, the balance of opinion on the general business outlook has declined after four successive increases, but it remains well above its long-term average.

In September 2021, for the entire wholesale trade sector, the balance on total ordering intentions for the next two months has been virtually stable, well above its long-term average. Among the sub-sectors, this balance has increased markedly in the wholesaling of food and drink products; conversely, it has sharply dropped for information and communication equipment, while remaining well above its average.

Wholesalers consider the outlook for foreign trade to be rather favourable. Thus, the balance of opinion of ordering from abroad has rebounded, while the balance of ordering intentions from abroad has been stable. These two balances stand well above their average.

Employment prospects have continued to improve

The balance of opinion on the expected change in workforce size has continued to increase, as it has done since January, and has returned to its levels of 2018. This increase concerns all the sub-sectors analysed, with the exception of the wholesale trade in food products and beverages where this balance has sharply dropped.

The balance of opinion regarding the past change in workforce size has declined after reaching in July a level not seen since 2001, but it remains above its average.

The balances on selling prices have gone down slightly

After reaching their highest level in July 2021 since the mid-1980s, the balances of opinion on past and expected selling prices have declined slightly in September 2021. Both remain well above of their long-term average.

The balance of opinion on the cash flow situation has fallen back slightly, however it remains close to its record level of July 2021.

Revisions

The business climate indicator in wholesale trade of July 2021 has been revised upwards by one point, as a result of the integration of belated business answers.

Wholesale trade sectors

Balances of opinion in %, S.A.
Wholesale trade sectors (Balances of opinion in %, S.A.)
Ave* March-21 May-21 July-21 Sept.-21
Composite indicators 100 99 109 113 110
General business outlook -23 -17 14 19 15
Sales -14 -14 -5 3 -5
export sales -15 -13 -3 -8 0
Received merchandise -9 -16 -8 -1 -6
received from abroad -10 -17 -6 -4 -11
Ordering intentions -15 -15 -3 2 3
ordering from abroad -15 -17 -3 -2 -2
Shipments abroad -15 -13 -5 -10 -4
Stocks 8 -2 -1 -4 2
Past workforce -1 -4 1 9 5
Expected workforce -2 2 9 9 11
Cash position -9 -1 0 1 -1
Past selling prices 7 15 26 35 32
Expected selling prices 14 20 29 32 31
  • * : average since july 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* March-21 May-21 July-21 Sept.-21
Raw agricultural products and live animals
Sales -13 -20 -13 -21 -11
Export sales -16 -27 -16 -23 -7
Merchandise received from abroad -10 -20 -17 -22 -41
Ordering intentions -13 -22 -23 -7 -7
Current stock 5 -8 -3 -7 -8
Food products and beverages
Sales -15 -32 -29 -8 -30
Export sales -12 -29 -9 -6 -26
Merchandise received from abroad -13 -24 -24 -22 -22
Ordering intentions -11 -25 -12 -10 0
Current stocks 4 -11 -11 0 7
Household goods
Sales -10 -15 -8 0 -4
Export sales -11 -2 -10 1 1
Merchandise received from abroad -6 -22 -19 5 -10
Ordering intentions -14 -13 -5 3 3
Current stock 12 6 9 3 3
Information and communication equipment
Sales -8 20 33 30 13
Export sales -12 27 40 35 20
Merchandise received from abroad -6 31 41 37 20
Ordering intentions -10 21 34 33 17
Current stock 8 -29 -22 -27 -17
Other industrial capital goods
Sales -16 -3 13 15 4
Export sales -21 -18 -14 -11 -9
Merchandise received from abroad -11 -11 4 -8 -15
Ordering intentions -21 -10 0 0 3
Current stock 11 4 1 -1 5
Other specialised wholesale trade
Sales -17 -13 0 6 4
Export sales -19 -13 7 -21 10
Merchandise received from abroad -13 -22 4 -1 -14
Ordering intentions -18 -19 -1 7 4
Current stock 6 2 3 -9 2
  • * : average since july 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 -23.1 5.5
2008-B2 -6.6 4.4
2008-B3 3.5 -3.6
2008-B4 -5.4 -14.3
2008-B5 -11.9 -20.9
2008-B6 -16.2 -35.3
2009-B1 -32.1 -56.6
2009-B2 -61.5 -74.3
2009-B3 -63.2 -67.9
2009-B4 -61.3 -70.0
2009-B5 -57.6 -70.2
2009-B6 -21.4 -68.1
2010-B1 -12.8 -56.3
2010-B2 -37.2 -57.6
2010-B3 0.3 -40.4
2010-B4 31.2 -32.9
2010-B5 18.6 -16.2
2010-B6 19.0 -18.1
2011-B1 15.3 -16.9
2011-B2 -12.4 1.7
2011-B3 1.2 6.5
2011-B4 0.3 -0.3
2011-B5 -7.8 -0.1
2011-B6 -28.6 -12.8
2012-B1 -11.5 -11.7
2012-B2 -17.2 -15.6
2012-B3 -23.3 -28.9
2012-B4 -20.7 -30.0
2012-B5 -17.4 -28.3
2012-B6 -31.0 -36.8
2013-B1 -36.3 -41.1
2013-B2 -13.7 -33.8
2013-B3 -17.6 -38.0
2013-B4 -37.0 -38.3
2013-B5 -18.0 -30.9
2013-B6 -12.7 -25.7
2014-B1 -27.5 -27.4
2014-B2 -15.8 -20.1
2014-B3 -14.1 -27.4
2014-B4 -7.5 -38.8
2014-B5 -25.3 -41.2
2014-B6 -10.4 -38.5
2015-B1 -11.6 -35.2
2015-B2 -8.9 -33.1
2015-B3 4.3 -28.8
2015-B4 -1.6 -22.3
2015-B5 -4.8 -25.0
2015-B6 -9.1 -27.8
2016-B1 1.4 -17.7
2016-B2 -1.4 -21.6
2016-B3 -10.1 -17.6
2016-B4 1.6 -16.9
2016-B5 -5.1 -24.9
2016-B6 -12.9 -19.2
2017-B1 -7.3 -15.4
2017-B2 -7.5 -12.4
2017-B3 -6.2 -7.0
2017-B4 1.8 0.5
2017-B5 -2.9 -2.2
2017-B6 -8.4 8.9
2018-B1 -12.0 8.9
2018-B2 -0.6 1.3
2018-B3 2.1 -5.2
2018-B4 10.1 -7.8
2018-B5 11.7 -7.2
2018-B6 4.4 -9.4
2019-B1 -20.3 -15.2
2019-B2 18.2 -3.4
2019-B3 11.6 -1.3
2019-B4 -18.1 -4.1
2019-B5 -1.4 0.5
2019-B6 -6.7 -4.8
2020-B1 -18.1 -9.2
2020-B2 -6.6 -14.1
2020-B3 -54.9 -84.6
2020-B4 -54.4 -56.0
2020-B5 10.3 -28.6
2020-B6 9.3 -31.2
2021-B1 0.3 -19.8
2021-B2 19.6 -3.0
2021-B3 32.7 13.4
2021-B4 29.8 14.5
2021-B5 13.0 3.6

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.

Since the May 2020 survey, the way of correcting missing answers has been modified. The usual method was to fill them in by carrying on past answers from non-responding companies. Results are now computed on the sole basis of responding companies.

Answers to this survey have been gathered between 27 August and 20 September.

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

Next issue: 24 November 2021 at 8:45 am.

Pour en savoir plus

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.

Since the May 2020 survey, the way of correcting missing answers has been modified. The usual method was to fill them in by carrying on past answers from non-responding companies. Results are now computed on the sole basis of responding companies.

Answers to this survey have been gathered between 27 August and 20 September.

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

Next issue: 24 November 2021 at 8:45 am.

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