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Is Global Trade in Quarantine?

Is Global Trade in Quarantine?

The outbreak and spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has stoked global fear of a pandemic.  Disruptions to business in China and other affected countries are rising as are worldwide disruptions to travel and trade as countries scramble to put safeguards in place to stem the spread of the virus.

For companies with overseas operations and business, this latest public health crisis underscores the importance of planning for the unexpected, including an annual comprehensive assessment to properly mitigate the risk of doing business overseas where situations can change quite rapidly.

Like earlier epidemics such as SARS in 2002-2003 and the Ebola outbreak of 2014-2016, efforts to contain transmissions involve a range of decisions to quarantine the sick and minimize human-to-human contact.  This proves particularly difficult in a global economy in which the flow of goods and people are both commonplace and vital, even in areas of the world seen as remote or rural.  Outbreaks raise public concerns and even outright fear in both nearby countries and worldwide, and can lead to political decisions in non-crisis countries to suspend travel or block the transport of some or all goods.  These actions are often sudden and unforeseen, with reaching consequences for complex supply chains.

Stories of the economic impact of Coronavirus are developing.  At present, the disease remains mostly centered in China and that country is expected to see the most drastic economic impact.  Already analysts are predicting both a significant first-quarter economic slowdown and an overall GDP decline for 2020 as many businesses remain closed or people remain at home, especially in the auto-manufacturing hub of Wuhan at the center of the crisis.  With China’s economy already cooling, (GDP fell to 6.1% in 2019 from 6.6% in 2018) it remains to be seen what the impact will be on China’s export-driven growth, particularly electronics exports or its $280 billion per year textile exports.

Companies doing business in China are in a scramble to adjust their operations and specific industries are noting shocks.  American exporters of agricultural products and machinery are already feeling the effects of the slowdown, as China struggles to keep food supply chains open in the face of quarantines and declining consumption.  West Coast port traffic is already reporting a significant decline in traffic. Other notable examples include the cruise ship industry and tourism in general, beset by virus outbreaks on ships and growing travel restrictions. In addition, the luxury goods industry, which enjoys popularity among wealthier Chinese consumers and tourists, is projecting a $40 billion decline in sales in 2020.

The Coronavirus outbreak highlights the need for international companies to engage in a range of contingency planning to anticipate how to adapt business operations in the face of risks such as public health crises, natural disasters, energy shortages, slow or broken lines of communication and political risk.  An entire field of business continuity planning encourages companies to regularly assess operational and financial risk by actively planning and developing working contingency plans.  Proper insurance coverage, just one aspect of this, is crucial so that cash flows and financial obligations can be protected, even in the case of unforeseen breaks in trade.

Since 2004, Securitas Global Risk Solutions (“Securitas”) has helped clients across the United States develop trade credit and political risk transfer solutions that protect businesses from buyer non-payment and geo-political risks.  As a specialty independent brokerage, Securitas is focused on developing comprehensive solutions that meet the needs of their client.

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The Psychology of Risk

The Psychology of Risk

When to buy Trade Credit Insurance

Risk management often requires a counter-intuitive approach, challenging ourselves to think through whether we have accurately assessed the possible risks that face our businesses. Planning for a range of outcomes requires an evaluation of downside risk. This runs counter to the optimistic view we naturally have for our efforts in building individual enterprises. Yet the recent bankruptcy of Toys-R-Us highlights why, even when times are good and indicators seem positive, “black swan” events can happen. The time to plan for those events is ahead of the crisis.

Imagine the scenario: It is August 2017. As the CEO of a toy manufacturing company, your firm is coming up on the biggest, most lucrative season of the year – the December holidays. Irrespective of tradition, the bringer of gifts will need some 21st century manufacturing support — your toy company is just the one for the job!

Knowing the retail toy sector is largely seasonal, your company team understands the traditionally longer manufacturing lead times needed to stock store shelves. They have worked hard, marketed and won contracts from the major toy retailers in advance of the big season. Your company also anticipated the early holiday shoppers and made sure products will be delivered by the middle of September. It is this holiday-season Accounts Receivable that will fund your firm’s working capital throughout a good portion of next year.

Now ask the question: Do you need trade credit insurance on those Accounts Receivable? Is it a luxury or a necessity? There is market concentration with a historically large buyer that could not possibly file for bankruptcy right before the holiday season, the best time of the year. You decide to gamble with that thought in mind.

Your CFO, however, has been reading the trade press on the difficulties facing the retail sector, as the major box stores wither under cost competition from online retailers. She recommends you take a look at insuring buyer risk, just in case retailing has indeed crossed a Rubicon and become an online enterprise. The is not really the news you want to hear going into the busiest season of the year — but then again, you made her CFO because she is willing to bring you the hard news. With a quick call to your broker, you are able to line up a trade credit solution covering the risk concentration associated with a large buyer. As it turns out, this one call can be the move that saves your toy company. Unlike many of your competitors, you will now get paid for the shipped merchandise.

When everything is going well, accounts receivable are being paid and aging accounts are small, trade credit insurance might look like a luxury. However, it is also a good time to review your options and risks with an experienced trade credit insurance expert at Securitas Global. The premium rates can be lower with greater underwriting capacity. Even more importantly, markets recognize the value of supporting existing clients on credits like Toys “R” Us. Just prior to the bankruptcy filing, our Securitas Global team heard comments from vendors with respect to getting trade credit insurance on Toys-R-Us that included: “It’s expensive” and “We’re concerned, but we don’t think they’ll file yet.” When it became clear there would be a loss, and insurance was no longer available since underwriters will not insure a certain loss, the cost of protection became secondary. The conversation became one of whether any available coverage options existed.

The moral of the story: The time to put trade credit insurance in place is before there is a known risk. As one client shared “I have too much invested in my business to risk it because one of my customers can’t pay me.” Securitas Global can develop a customized solution to cover your needs at the right price point. We work with clients to determine their level of risk and how to allocate it then devise a policy that will cover their specific needs. This can include coverage for overseas buyers and ways to mitigate political risk. By insuring accounts receivable, we are able to preserve your firm’s working capital and support credit access.

Pamela M. Bates Joins Securitas

Pamela M. Bates Joins Securitas

PB

Securitas Global Risk Solutions is delighted to announce that Pamela Bates has joined our team to provide customized solutions to mitigate credit and investment risk in global markets.  Pamela will be based in Virginia, where, in addition to risk mitigation, she will provide strategic and policy advice to assist our clients in navigating international business opportunities.  Working for the U.S. Department of State for over two decades as a foreign service officer, Pamela managed U.S. diplomatic efforts on energy, information technology and government procurement issues.   In addition, she earned an MBA from the Wharton School.  Pamela brings the skills, knowledge and network to support our clients’ international expansion goals.

International markets provide outstanding opportunities for U.S. exporters to diversify their customer base.  Securitas provides risk mitigation strategies to help reduce the uncertainty associated with approaching new markets.  Pamela will concentrate on solutions ranging from mitigating private sector credit risk, sovereign contract frustration risk, financing international trade, protecting equity investments against political risk, along with government relations strategies, to bring products to global markets.

Having previously lived and worked in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Brazil, Pamela has an extensive network of contacts around the world. She speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and French, along with English.  While a State Department employee, she taught classes on diplomatic tradecraft, including how to evaluate sources of risk.  In addition to her MBA, Pamela earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Environmental Studies from Bowdoin College in Maine and a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies.

Thank you for welcoming Pamela to Securitas team.

Securitas awarded 2015 Broker of the Year by Export-Import Bank

Securitas awarded 2015 Broker of the Year by Export-Import Bank

 

 

 

 

 

We’re honored to recognized for this award, and want to thank our clients, associates and friends as it wouldn’t have been possible without you.  Thanks again!

Export-Import Bank press release:

http://www.exim.gov/newsandevents/releases/2015/The-ExportImport-Bank-Announces-first-Recipients-of-Fiscal-Year-2014-Export-Awards.cfm

Export Finance Workshop – World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia event on Nov 19

Please join us on Nov 19th in Camden, NJ at the Export Finance Workshop facilitated by the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia.  Please register at WTCGP website.

Export Finance Workshop November 19, 2014 

Learn the strategies to increase sales and reduce risk!

DATE AND TIME 

November 19, 2014

8:00 am – 12:00 pm

 

LOCATION 

The Waterfront Technology Center

Suite 300

200 Federal Street

Camden, NJ 08103

 

REGISTRATION FEE

WTCGP MEMBERS: $45

Non-Members: $60

REGISTER ONLINE

CLICK HERE

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: 

 

Susan Mills Farrington

Office Manager & Membership Coordinator

sfarrington@wtcphila.org

215.586.4240

If financing is not part of your export strategy, you could be missing out on important sales or exposing your company to unnecessary risks.

 

 

Do not miss this opportunity to meet the region’s leading trade finance lenders and government finance representatives.
Receive the latest information on financing programs available with U.S. government backing from the Export – Import Bank of the United States and the Small Business Administration. You will also hear from companies like yours who have successfully utilized this financing to grow their international business.
Who should attend?

CEOs, CFOs, and international marketing managers of export-ready companies


You will learn how to:

  • Utilize export credit insurance to protect against buyer non-payment, minimize risk, and offer extended credit terms to international buyers to increase sales;
  • Obtain working capital loans with U.S. government backing to provide capital for inventory, hiring, and performance bonds to support export sales orders and free up needed capital;
  • Offer financing at competitive rates to prospective customers to help close the sale;
  • And more….

 

Euler Hermes Economic Outlook: Top Ten Game Changers in 2014

Euler Hermes provides detailed and insightful analysis of ten global macroeconomic factors to watch in 2014.  The following are the first three game changers:

  1. China’s Transformation will be under control
  2. The U.S. will re-industrialize with or without easy money
  3. The Eurozone must keep its eye on the ball, but the ball is rolling

Read the full report here:  Economic_outlook_Dec2013Jan2014_Macro_Top_ten_game_changers_in_2014