Risks grow for exporters to Europe

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The Independent Online
THE RISKS of selling in Europe are growing rapidly and prospects for British exporters are bleak, Britain's biggest export credit insurer said yesterday, writes David Bowen.

NCM Credit Insurance, formerly the short-term arm of the Export Credits Guarantee Department, said in its quarterly export survey that risks are rising in every country in Continental Europe.

The riskiest country is France, where one in five British exporters did not receive payment for one or more deliveries in the year to June. This proportion increased from one in seven the year before.

France was followed by Italy, where one in six exporters were affected, up from one in eight, Ireland (one in 11 to one in nine) and Spain (one in 15 to one in nine). The risk in Spain has grown the most rapidly: in 1988/9 only one in 63 exporters suffered a loss.

One in every 14 exporters to Germany was affected, compared with one in 18 the previous year and one in 30 the year before that. Conni Randall, NCM's business strategy director, said that German blue-chip companies were now failing to pay and that 'things can only get worse'.