Insee
Informations Rapides · 24 January 2023 · n° 19
Informations rapidesIn January 2023, the business climate has deteriorated sharply in wholesale trade Bi-monthly survey of wholesaling - January 2023

According to the business managers surveyed in January 2023, the bimonthly business climate in wholesale trade has deteriorated sharply. The composite indicator has lost seven points compared to November 2022 and stands at 95. It has thus moved back below its long-term average (100). This deterioration is mainly due to the sharp decline in the balances of opinion regarding the volume of merchandise received from abroad and the volume of past sales.

Informations rapides
No 19
Paru le : Paru le 24/01/2023
Prochaine parution le : 28/03/2023 at 08:45 - March 2023

According to the business managers surveyed in January 2023, the bimonthly business climate in wholesale trade has deteriorated sharply. The composite indicator has lost seven points compared to November 2022 and stands at 95. It has thus moved back below its long-term average (100). This deterioration is mainly due to the sharp decline in the balances of opinion regarding the volume of merchandise received from abroad and the volume of past sales.

Composite indicator

Composite indicator
Composite indicator
2023-B1 95.0
2022-B6 101.7
2022-B5 96.6
2022-B4 101.6
2022-B3 100.6
2022-B2 104.7
2022-B1 114.9
2021-B6 114.1
2021-B5 109.2
2021-B4 112.8
2021-B3 109.4
2021-B2 98.6
2021-B1 95.3
2020-B6 87.4
2020-B5 90.8
2020-B4 78.7
2020-B3 66.0
2020-B2 96.6
2020-B1 103.8
2019-B6 106.0
2019-B5 105.9
2019-B4 105.8
2019-B3 106.8
2019-B2 105.2
2019-B1 99.7
2018-B6 103.3
2018-B5 103.3
2018-B4 102.1
2018-B3 103.8
2018-B2 109.1
2018-B1 107.1
2017-B6 110.5
2017-B5 108.3
2017-B4 109.5
2017-B3 104.1
2017-B2 102.7
2017-B1 103.9
2016-B6 97.7
2016-B5 97.3
2016-B4 102.9
2016-B3 101.6
2016-B2 99.3
2016-B1 102.1
2015-B6 101.3
2015-B5 99.2
2015-B4 101.8
2015-B3 100.7
2015-B2 96.1
2015-B1 95.6
2014-B6 95.3
2014-B5 90.9
2014-B4 96.1
2014-B3 97.7
2014-B2 97.8
2014-B1 96.9
2013-B6 97.5
2013-B5 96.8
2013-B4 87.3
2013-B3 87.8
2013-B2 88.2
2013-B1 88.9
2012-B6 89.0
2012-B5 90.8
2012-B4 94.7
2012-B3 92.8
2012-B2 99.2
2012-B1 95.3
2011-B6 95.9
2011-B5 100.0
2011-B4 105.6
2011-B3 107.1
2011-B2 108.1
2011-B1 105.8
2010-B6 104.4
2010-B5 104.9
2010-B4 100.4
2010-B3 94.4
2010-B2 84.9
2010-B1 84.9
2009-B6 77.7
2009-B5 76.3
2009-B4 70.6
2009-B3 68.6
2009-B2 67.3
2009-B1 79.3
2008-B6 84.0
2008-B5 94.5
2008-B4 96.8
2008-B3 101.5
2008-B2 106.6
2008-B1 107.3
2007-B6 108.5
2007-B5 111.4
2007-B4 107.2
2007-B3 110.1
2007-B2 111.6
2007-B1 107.9
2006-B6 110.1
2006-B5 106.7
2006-B4 107.4
2006-B3 101.9
2006-B2 98.9
2006-B1 103.6
2005-B6 99.5
2005-B5 94.8
2005-B4 96.0
2005-B3 92.3
2005-B2 97.3
2005-B1 100.5

Composite indicator

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

The opinion of wholesalers on the volume of received merchandise, especially from abroad, has deteriorated

In January 2023, the balance of opinion of wholesalers regarding the volume of merchandise received over the past two months has retreated sharply and has moved below its average. The balance of opinion specific to the merchandise received from abroad has also diminished sharply and has moved below its average level. It has mainly decreased in the wholesale trade of raw agricultural products and live animals, of food products and beverages, as well as of household goods.

The balance of opinion of wholesalers on the volume of their past sales has retreated markedly and has moved back below its average. This balance has more specifically decreased in the wholesale trade of raw agricultural products, of food products and beverages, as well as of information and communication equipment. The balance on the volume of sales abroad has also retreated and lies well below its average level. It has declined in all sub-sectors, except in the wholesale trade of capital goods in information and communication.

Past activity (sales) in capital goods

Past activity (sales) in capital goods
Capital goods in information and communication Other industrial capital goods
2023-B1 -40.4 -5.7
2022-B6 -25.6 -10.0
2022-B5 -23.3 -17.3
2022-B4 -6.1 -13.4
2022-B3 5.3 -11.3
2022-B2 -3.6 -11.5
2022-B1 6.6 11.5
2021-B6 10.6 2.9
2021-B5 14.2 -0.6
2021-B4 29.8 14.5
2021-B3 32.7 13.4
2021-B2 19.6 -3.0
2021-B1 0.3 -19.8
2020-B6 9.3 -31.2
2020-B5 10.3 -28.6
2020-B4 -54.4 -56.0
2020-B3 -54.9 -84.6
2020-B2 -6.6 -14.1
2020-B1 -18.1 -9.2
2019-B6 -6.7 -4.8
2019-B5 -1.4 0.5
2019-B4 -18.1 -4.1
2019-B3 11.6 -1.3
2019-B2 18.2 -3.4
2019-B1 -20.3 -15.2
2018-B6 4.4 -9.4
2018-B5 11.7 -7.2
2018-B4 10.1 -7.8
2018-B3 2.1 -5.2
2018-B2 -0.6 1.3
2018-B1 -12.0 8.9
2017-B6 -8.4 8.9
2017-B5 -2.9 -2.2
2017-B4 1.8 0.5
2017-B3 -6.2 -7.0
2017-B2 -7.5 -12.4
2017-B1 -7.3 -15.4
2016-B6 -12.9 -19.2
2016-B5 -5.1 -24.9
2016-B4 1.6 -16.9
2016-B3 -10.1 -17.6
2016-B2 -1.4 -21.6
2016-B1 1.4 -17.7
2015-B6 -9.1 -27.8
2015-B5 -4.8 -25.0
2015-B4 -1.6 -22.3
2015-B3 4.3 -28.8
2015-B2 -8.9 -33.1
2015-B1 -11.6 -35.2
2014-B6 -10.4 -38.5
2014-B5 -25.3 -41.2
2014-B4 -7.5 -38.8
2014-B3 -14.1 -27.4
2014-B2 -15.8 -20.1
2014-B1 -27.5 -27.4
2013-B6 -12.7 -25.7
2013-B5 -18.0 -30.9
2013-B4 -37.0 -38.3
2013-B3 -17.6 -38.0
2013-B2 -13.7 -33.8
2013-B1 -36.3 -41.1
2012-B6 -31.0 -36.8
2012-B5 -17.4 -28.3
2012-B4 -20.7 -30.0
2012-B3 -23.3 -28.9
2012-B2 -17.2 -15.6
2012-B1 -11.5 -11.7
2011-B6 -28.6 -12.8
2011-B5 -7.8 -0.1
2011-B4 0.3 -0.3
2011-B3 1.2 6.5
2011-B2 -12.4 1.7
2011-B1 15.3 -16.9
2010-B6 19.0 -18.1
2010-B5 18.6 -16.2
2010-B4 31.2 -32.9
2010-B3 0.3 -40.4
2010-B2 -37.2 -57.6
2010-B1 -12.8 -56.3
2009-B6 -21.4 -68.1
2009-B5 -57.6 -70.2
2009-B4 -61.3 -70.0
2009-B3 -63.2 -67.9
2009-B2 -61.5 -74.3
2009-B1 -32.1 -56.6
2008-B6 -16.2 -35.3
2008-B5 -11.9 -20.9
2008-B4 -5.4 -14.3
2008-B3 3.5 -3.6
2008-B2 -6.6 4.4
2008-B1 -23.1 5.5

Past activity (sales) in capital goods

  • Source: INSEE - business tendency survey in wholesale trade

The balances of opinion on ordering intentions have decreased

In January 2023, the balance of opinion of wholesalers on their ordering intentions has retreated to its average level. The one related to ordering intentions from abroad has slightly fallen and has moved away from its own.

The balance of opinion on the general business outlook has retreated. It remains far below its long-term average.

The balances of opinion on selling prices have retreated very sharply

The balances of opinion on the past and expected changes in selling prices of wholesalers have retreated very sharply. Yet, both balances remain well above their respective averages.

Expected prices in wholesale trade

Expected prices in wholesale trade
Expected prices
2023-B1 32.7
2022-B6 41.4
2022-B5 40.2
2022-B4 44.4
2022-B3 55.0
2022-B2 50.4
2022-B1 34.1
2021-B6 38.3
2021-B5 30.6
2021-B4 32.1
2021-B3 29.2
2021-B2 20.3
2021-B1 7.5
2020-B6 -4.9
2020-B5 1.6
2020-B4 1.2
2020-B3 -1.2
2020-B2 0.3
2020-B1 6.9
2019-B6 7.1
2019-B5 1.2
2019-B4 2.2
2019-B3 4.2
2019-B2 4.9
2019-B1 6.6
2018-B6 9.6
2018-B5 11.3
2018-B4 8.3
2018-B3 7.5
2018-B2 13.5
2018-B1 8.6
2017-B6 11.8
2017-B5 2.0
2017-B4 3.9
2017-B3 4.0
2017-B2 5.8
2017-B1 10.7
2016-B6 2.4
2016-B5 -2.8
2016-B4 0.1
2016-B3 -0.9
2016-B2 -3.4
2016-B1 -5.7
2015-B6 -1.4
2015-B5 -8.2
2015-B4 2.9
2015-B3 5.1
2015-B2 -0.4
2015-B1 -6.7
2014-B6 -10.7
2014-B5 -8.7
2014-B4 -4.2
2014-B3 -0.8
2014-B2 2.1
2014-B1 6.0
2013-B6 0.5
2013-B5 0.3
2013-B4 -3.9
2013-B3 -3.2
2013-B2 -2.2
2013-B1 5.1
2012-B6 5.5
2012-B5 11.3
2012-B4 8.9
2012-B3 6.0
2012-B2 11.7
2012-B1 11.0
2011-B6 14.2
2011-B5 6.2
2011-B4 11.9
2011-B3 19.8
2011-B2 24.6
2011-B1 22.9
2010-B6 8.7
2010-B5 11.5
2010-B4 8.6
2010-B3 5.1
2010-B2 0.2
2010-B1 -3.9
2009-B6 -7.2
2009-B5 -6.7
2009-B4 -11.9
2009-B3 -7.5
2009-B2 -12.5
2009-B1 -5.5
2008-B6 0.4
2008-B5 10.3
2008-B4 18.8
2008-B3 15.3
2008-B2 18.6
2008-B1 26.9
2007-B6 23.9
2007-B5 20.9
2007-B4 16.2
2007-B3 14.1
2007-B2 10.1
2007-B1 10.2

Expected prices in wholesale trade

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

Wholesalers have cast a slightly less favourable judgement on the recent evolution of their workforce

The balance of opinion on the change in the workforce size over the last two months has declined again and has moved closer to its average level. The balance on the expected change in the workforce size has continued a decline that began in May 2022, but remains higher than its average.

Wholesalers keep considering their stock levels to be well above normal

The balance of opinion related to the level of inventories has rebounded markedly and has reached its highest level since 1989. It has increased in particular in the wholesale trade of household goods, and remains at very high levels in the one of information and communication equipment and that of “other industrial products” notably.

Finally, the balance related to the cash position remains stable, at its average level.

Updates

The business climate in wholesale trade of November 2022 has not been revised (after rounding).

Economic outlook in the wholesale trade sector

Balances of opinion in %, S.A.
Economic outlook in the wholesale trade sector (Balances of opinion in %, S.A.)
Ave* July-22 Sept.-22 Nov.-22 Jan.-23
Composite indicators 100 102 97 102 95
General business outlook -23 -32 -32 -31 -35
Sales -14 -11 -14 -7 -18
sales abroad -15 -11 -19 -15 -24
Received merchandise -9 -10 -13 -7 -14
received from abroad -10 -12 -20 -11 -18
Ordering intentions -15 -8 -12 -11 -15
ordering from abroad -15 -14 -14 -15 -17
Shipments abroad -15 -13 -15 -17 -22
Stocks 8 11 15 13 17
Past workforce -1 8 1 4 1
Expected workforce -2 8 8 6 5
Cash position -9 -9 -9 -9 -9
Past selling prices 8 46 36 46 34
Expected selling prices 15 44 40 41 33
  • *: average since July 1979
  • Source: INSEE - business tendency survey in wholesale trade

Balances of opinion by sub-sector in wholesale trade

Balances of opinion, in %, S.A.
Balances of opinion by sub-sector in wholesale trade (Balances of opinion, in %, S.A.)
Ave* July-22 Sept.-22 Nov.-22 Jan.-23
Raw agricultural products and live animals
Sales -13 -16 -7 -1 -21
Sales abroad -16 -21 -24 -23 -28
Merchandise received from abroad -10 -30 -41 -25 -43
Ordering intentions -13 -13 -10 -14 -19
Current stock 5 2 2 4 8
Food products and beverages
Sales -15 -11 -10 -16 -29
Sales abroad -12 -26 -28 -26 -44
Merchandise received from abroad -13 -19 -14 -21 -28
Ordering intentions -11 -10 -18 -15 -16
Current stocks 4 -1 4 -3 6
Household goods
Sales -10 -2 -12 -3 -2
Sales abroad -11 4 -9 -3 -8
Merchandise received from abroad -6 -4 -9 -6 -16
Ordering intentions -13 -3 -8 -3 -7
Current stock 12 13 16 11 23
Information and communication equipment
Sales -8 -6 -23 -26 -40
Sales abroad -12 -37 -48 -49 -48
Merchandise received from abroad -7 -33 -46 -45 -35
Ordering intentions -10 -15 -21 -20 -27
Current stock 8 32 42 43 39
Other industrial capital goods
Sales -16 -13 -17 -10 -6
Sales abroad -21 -25 -17 -14 -18
Merchandise received from abroad -11 -21 -22 -10 -4
Ordering intentions -21 -9 -10 -16 -20
Current stock 11 13 22 27 23
Other specialised wholesale trade
Sales -17 -16 -23 -1 -18
Sales abroad -19 7 -24 -14 -18
Merchandise received from abroad -12 2 -33 -7 -8
Ordering intentions -18 -9 -13 -9 -12
Current stock 6 16 14 14 17
  • *: average since July 1979
  • 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 28 December 2022 and 18 January 2023.

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

Next issue: 28 March 2023 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 28 December 2022 and 18 January 2023.

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

Next issue: 28 March 2023 at 8:45 am.

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