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Atradius: Australian businesses battle high levels of unpaid debt

Atradius: Australian businesses battle high levels of unpaid debt
PR Newswire
SYDNEY, May 17, 2022

Atradius Payment Practices Barometer highlights importance of strategic credit management in the Australian market
SYDNEY, May 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ …

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Atradius: Australian businesses battle high levels of unpaid debt

PR Newswire

Atradius Payment Practices Barometer highlights importance of strategic credit management in the Australian market

SYDNEY, May 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the latest edition of the Atradius Payment Practices Barometer for Australia, high levels of unpaid debt prompt stronger credit controls among Australian businesses as they battle it out for survival in a competitive market.

Several major concerns for the future are spelled out by the results of the Atradius Payment Practices Barometer Survey for Australia in what is a period of severe economic flux. These include the prospect of rising global oil prices and inflation, along with uncertainty about the ongoing pandemic. Fears about geopolitical conflicts and the way supply chain disruption might affect global trade also feature. Companies polled in Australia have significant worries about a negative impact on profits in the coming year.

Despite this, most businesses retain a positive outlook, and they expect some improvement in B2B payment practices during the next twelve months. Trusting customers to make payments may encourage sales expansion and also build loyalty. This might lengthen DSO, however, and have a negative effect on liquidity levels.

Another factor is that insolvencies are expected to increase in frequency in the back half of the year, and perhaps reach the levels last seen in 2019. There have already been some large insolvencies in the first quarter, and this is expected to have some flow-on effect.

"The figures in the report do show signs of increasing stress," said Mark Hoppe, Managing Director Oceania. "They show unpaid trade debt is still high, with 42% of invoices overdue and 6% written off as uncollectable. Payment default risks are growing as the global economy heads towards possible recession. We expect bad debts and insolvencies to continue rising, to at least pre-Covid levels. Suppliers need to be prepared to manage this financial stress. It will be important to have greater market information than just their own trading experience."

The Atradius PPB survey for Australia also found that 46% of companies said they increased trading on credit with B2B customers. Two important reasons were to protect current sales from competition, and to allow B2B customers more time to pay. Once again, this only underlines the crucial importance of strategic credit management. The 2022 Atradius Payment Practices Barometer for Australia was conducted in Q1 2022. The report can be downloaded from the Atradius website at https://group.atradius.com (Publications section) or at https://atradius.com.au (Publications section).

About Atradius: Atradius is a global provider of credit insurance, surety and collection services, with a strategic presence in over 50 countries. The credit insurance, bond and collection products offered by Atradius protect companies around the world against the default risks associated with selling goods and services on credit. Atradius is a member of Grupo Catalana Occidente (GCO.MC), one of the largest insurers in Spain and one of the largest credit insurers in the world. You can find more information online at https://group.atradius.com 

Connect with Atradius Australia on

Twitter: @atradiusAU

YouTube: atradiusAU

LinkedIn: Atradius Australia

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View original content:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/atradius-australian-businesses-battle-high-levels-of-unpaid-debt-301549099.html

SOURCE Atradius N.V.

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CCP Tightens Exit Controls Amid Sharp Increase In Citizens Fleeing China

CCP Tightens Exit Controls Amid Sharp Increase In Citizens Fleeing China

Authored by Alex Wu via The Epoch Times,

The sharp increase of Chinese…

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CCP Tightens Exit Controls Amid Sharp Increase In Citizens Fleeing China

Authored by Alex Wu via The Epoch Times,

The sharp increase of Chinese citizens joining the “run” movement—fleeing China by both legal and illegal means—has attracted international attention since the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) three-year draconian “zero-COVID” lockdowns that caused countless humanitarian tragedies.

Most of them have taken various routes to the United States, their ideal destination.

Meanwhile, the CCP is reported to have tightened control over Chinese citizens’ overseas travel to save face as so many citizens are fleeing, in contrast to the CCP’s claim of “confidence” in its system.

Different Routes

According to media reports and what fleeing citizens told The Epoch Times, Chinese nationals at various economic strata take different routes into the United States.

People with sufficient funds can enter Mexico through a Schengen visa or a short visit visa. Some use a Korean visa to enter Panama without a visa, and some people directly obtain a Mexican visa under the arrangement of an agency and cross the U.S. southern border via the shortest route.

Other Chinese have taken longer routes, first flying to Thailand, then to Turkey, then to Ecuador. Others fly to Turkey via Hong Kong.

Mr. Lu, who is doing business in Thailand, told The Epoch Times that the Chinese regime has tightened its exit controls. His full name, along with others mentioned in this story, is being withheld for his safety.

If people join a tour group, they won’t be bothered by border control agents. But people traveling independently will most likely be interrogated for extended periods by customs about their reasons for going to Thailand.

“The authorities are worried that after people go to Thailand, they may go from Thailand to Turkey, South America, and then enter the United States,” he said. “Some people from Chengdu, Luoyang, and other parts of China told me that when they were leaving China as individuals, they’re all interrogated, the shortest questioning time was 25 minutes.”

Mr. Lu believes that the reason why customs have interrogated people like this was that they must have received orders from above to probe people’s reasons for leaving.

Mr. Zhang, who just fled China, told The Epoch Times that when they left China via Turkey in September 2023, it was relatively normal and there were not many restrictions. But since early December last year it started to tighten restrictions.

Migrants walk along the US side of the United States border wall after crossing through an open gap in Jacumba, Calif., on Dec. 6, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Mr. Zhang said that one of his friends went to Turkey in December, but the situation was different.

“He bought a ticket that required a layover in Chengdu in China. That is, he flew from Bangkok to Chengdu and then to Turkey,” he said. “When he entered Chengdu Airport, the Chinese airport staff stopped him and tried to drag him to the Chinese domestic area, preventing him from leaving. Fortunately, he stayed with another passenger who is Turkish in the international area in the airport and didn’t cross to the Chinese side at the airport. Once he enters the the Chinese area at the airport, he will definitely not be able to get out of the country. He thought about it now and felt it’s rather scary.”

CCP Tightens Control to Save Face

Mr. Yang, a Chinese expat in Thailand, told The Epoch Times, “Those Chinese who have the means to flee, most of them have already left after the CCP abandoned the COVID-19 controls. There are still more people leaving now because they needed time to take care of families, children, real estate, and businesses in China, so they are leaving slowly.” He said that it is certain that the communist regime is trying to suppress this, because there are too many Chinese people fleeing now.

“Many Chinese people haven’t been interviewed by the CCP’s national security. They haven’t attracted the attention of the CCP, or were not its focus, so they were able to leave. Those people who have been interviewed by the national security are restricted from leaving China, so they have to find ways to leave the country illegally,” he said.

Mr. Wei, who just came to the United States last year, told The Epoch Times, “I learned from many people that the exit control at many ports in China is currently being tightened.”

Li Beixing, who traveled to the United States last year, told The Epoch Times, “The CCP’s customs staff asked me to take out everything from my bag, and then they took my cellphone to check my communication records. They interrogated me for at least two hours, asking every question they could think of.”

Lawyer Liang Shaohua, former chief compliance officer of a mainland asset management company, told The Epoch Times that everyone in mainland China could apply for a passport before, but that seems to no longer be the case. Those who have a passport are also not allowed to renew it.

A post on Chinese social media has attracted wide attention in recent days. It shows that Lianjiang County in Fujian Province was having a meeting titled “Lianjiang County’s deployment meeting to crackdown on smuggling to the United States and the control of key personnel involved in fraud” to focus on the “run” movement in the county.

Mr. Wu from Fujian told The Epoch Times that what happened in Lianjiang is true. “If someone is caught there, they will be fined into bankruptcy,” he said.

Mr. Wu said that Lianjiang County is the hometown of overseas Chinese, and is a place known for smuggling people out of the country. After three years of COVID-19 lockdowns and strict controls, a large number of people have begun to flee again, and many people are being smuggled out to other countries, with most fleeing to the United States.

“Why [does the CCP] need to crack down on it? People are all gone, there is no one here anymore, and it sounds bad in the international community,” Mr. Wu said.

Mr. Li in Lianjiang also confirmed with The Epoch Times Lianjiang’s supression notice, saying that it’s been particularly strict recently. “It is because the CCP is afraid of losing face, so the higher-ups are suppressing local officials, and now people are caught for smuggling out they will be sentenced to prison.”

A Border Patrol agent apprehends a Chinese couple that just waded across the Rio Grande from Mexico into Eagle Pass, Texas, on Jan. 25, 2022. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

International human right group Safeguard Defenders published a report in last May that the CCP “is increasingly resorting to exit bans to punish human rights defenders (HRDs) and their families, hold people hostage to force targets overseas to come back to China (a practice called persuade to return, a form of transnational repression), control ethnic-religious groups, engage in hostage diplomacy and intimidate foreign journalists.”

The CCP’s exit ban and others are “illegitimate and violate the Universal Declaration of Human Right’s principle of Freedom of Movement,” the report pointed out.

Tyler Durden Tue, 02/20/2024 - 02:00

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GOP Efforts To Shore Up Election Security In Swing States Face Challenges

GOP Efforts To Shore Up Election Security In Swing States Face Challenges

Authored by Steven Kovac via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Massive…

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GOP Efforts To Shore Up Election Security In Swing States Face Challenges

Authored by Steven Kovac via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Massive voter fraud allegations that marred the 2020 election spurred a political and grassroots movement from coast to coast to pursue an array of election reforms designed to increase election integrity.

(Illustration by The Epoch Times, Getty Images, Shutterstock)

However, with just months left ahead of the 2024 election, Republicans say little was mended, especially in contested states where they thought fixes were needed most.

Much concern is centered around five key swing states that became the focus of 2020: Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Election reforms tend to follow party lines. Democrats commonly castigate increased election security measures as voter suppression, while Republicans often condemn laws and directives that loosen security as aiding and abetting voter fraud.

According to a report from the Brennan Center for Justice, a left leaning, non-profit, law and research foundation, 23 states enacted 53 laws relaxing election security restrictions in 2023, while 14 states enacted 17 laws tightening them.

 The statistics suggest that Democrats are still winning the nationwide battle, as they have for the past several years. The report found the states that took the most actions to tighten election security are the places that already had security measures in place.

Of the 14 states that tightened voting procedures, President Trump won all but one (New Mexico) in both 2016 and 2020. The 14 states listed by the Brennan Center include Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

The methods by which Americans cast their ballots have changed markedly over the last four federal election cycles, with many people embracing election procedures such as no-excuse absentee voting, early voting, and same-day voter registration.

As early as 2005, the bipartisan Carter-Baker Commission raised concerns that mail-in voting was a vehicle for potentially significant election fraud, yet the method has since steadily grown.

In 2018, a quarter of the electorate voted by mail, according to a study by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). By 2022, it had become one-third.

Forty-six states and territories permitted no-excuse absentee voting in 2022. The number was 43 in 2020 and 40 in 2018.

Twenty-three states and territories had a permanent absentee voter list in 2022—a practice that allows a voter to request to automatically be sent a mail-in ballot in every succeeding election. No new application or update of registration information is required in most of them.

In the 2022 election, half the states and territories allowed same-day voter registration.

In the election cycles before the pandemic, the EAC study said that nearly 60 percent of Americans voted in person on election day. In 2022, the figure was 49 percent.

Before the pandemic, mail-in ballot drop boxes were rare, with most being deployed in or around an election office. By 2022, there were 13,000 drop boxes being used in 39 states, with many boxes placed in settings that lacked security and surveillance measures.

Fifteen of the 39 states and territories using drop boxes, including Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New York, and Maine, couldn’t report how many ballots were collected from their receptacles in 2022, the report said.

A woman drops off her ballot for the U.S. presidential election in Rollinsville, Colo., on Nov. 3, 2020. (Jason Connolly/AFP via Getty Images)

According to the EAC study, 334,382 voting machines were used in the nation’s polling places in 2022. The utilization of electronic ballot marking devices was up 18.6 percent from 2020, while the use of electronic scanners rose 7.8 percent in the same period.

Despite the push by some election integrity activists for the hand-counting of ballots as a means to improve accuracy and security, the method was used by only 17.8 percent of jurisdictions in 2022, down from 20.7 percent in 2020.

And although chain of custody protections for ballots are being tightened in several states, dirty voter registration rolls—resulting in mail-in ballots being sent to ineligible people, undeliverable addresses, or multiple ballots being sent to the same individual—are still a widespread issue.

Georgia

The state of Georgia has been the scene of continuous controversy over the conduct of the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election in which challenger Mr. Biden defeated incumbent President Trump by 11,779 votes (0.23 percent).

The persistent public outcry over alleged election fraud prompted the Republican-controlled Georgia General Assembly to pass the 95-page Georgia Election Integrity Act of 2021.

Trump supporters gather in front of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on Jan. 6, 2021. (Virginie KippelenN/AFP via Getty Images)

The declared purpose of the legislation is to apply “the lessons learned” in 2020 and “make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” in the future.

An explanatory notation in the bill acknowledged that there was a “significant lack of confidence” in the state’s election systems stemming from persistent allegations of “rampant voter fraud” and “rampant voter suppression.”

The changes made in this legislation in 2021 are designed to address the lack of elector confidence in the election system on all sides of the political spectrum,” the notation said.

In order to ensure that more votes are not counted than ballots cast, every precinct, by 10 p.m. on election night, must post the number of all ballots cast, including all absentee ballots received by the statutory deadline of 7 p.m.

The new law mandates that the total number of cast ballots must equal the number of ballots counted.

No pauses are allowed once the counting begins, as were seen in the early morning hours in Atlanta in 2020.

To help achieve a timely vote count, the statute allows absentee ballots to be processed days before the election, but the voter’s choices must not be tabulated until the counting begins on election day.

The act provides that ballots shall be printed with authentication marks in order to eliminate counterfeiting.

To deter duplicate voting and ballot harvesting, the statute mandates that mail-in ballot applications be sent out only at a registered elector’s request, and nobody but statutorily specified individuals may return a marked absentee ballot filled out by another person. Seeking to obtain more than one absentee ballot can now expose an individual to legal penalties.

When applying for an absentee ballot, the new law requires a person to provide the numbers from either their driver’s license or state-issued identification card or the last four digits of their social security number.

To expand opportunities to vote, early voting is now an option for three weeks before the election. The law makes early voting on Sunday available at the choice of each county.

Election personnel check in provisional ballots at the Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections offices in Lawrenceville, Ga., on Nov. 7, 2020. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

The new legislation codifies the use of drop boxes in 2024, but mandates they be placed in secure, well-lit, locations with continuous human monitoring. To protect the chain of custody, two people are now required to deliver the contents of a drop box to an election clerk.

The act prohibits local officials from accepting non-government funds, grants, or gifts in connection with election administration.

In 2023, the Georgia legislature passed SB-222 to bolster the 2021 prohibition to make it a crime.

In protest to the new 2021 measures, Major League Baseball deemed them “restrictive,” and moved that year’s All-Star Game from Georgia to Colorado.

Georgia state Sen. Colton Moore, a Republican, said that although improvements have been made since 2020, much meaningful work is still needed.

Nothing of substance has changed since 2020. Every mechanism to facilitate a steal is still in place,” he told The Epoch Times. “We must work to eliminate the vulnerabilities still in place today.”

Mr. Moore also highlighted the “ridiculous” number of absentee ballots still used in Georgia elections and said they ought to be restricted to military personnel and medically disabled citizens. He said he was also worried about the institutionalization of the use of absentee ballot drop boxes, which he believes should be done away with altogether.

“We need to make it a legislative priority to stop authoritarian figures like [Fulton County District Attorney] Fani Willis from prosecuting people for merely questioning our elections. Her actions have created a chilling effect among my colleagues in the legislature,” he said.

“Unless we obtain a legislative solution soon, we must resolve to overcome fraud through an overwhelming turnout in November.”

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks at a news conference at the Fulton County government building in Atlanta on Aug. 14, 2023. (Megan Varner/Getty Images)

Michigan

Right after being elected in 2018, Michigan’s Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used her veto power to shoot down nearly 20 election integrity reform bills sent to her desk by the then-Republican-controlled state legislature.

In the 2020 presidential election, President Donald Trump lost Michigan to Joe Biden by 154,000 votes or 2.8 percent.

Afterwards, judges in six different court cases found that Michigan’s Democrat Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson issued inaccurate or legally unauthorized guidance to local officials in the runup to the 2020 general election.

When Ms. Whitmer was reelected in 2022 and Democrats captured control of the legislature, within a year 12 new Democrat-sponsored election laws were enacted—all of which Republicans say loosen security.

The new Democrat-authored statutes extend automatic voter registration to other state agencies and offices beyond the Secretary of State’s office, which issues driver’s licenses in Michigan.

They liberalize online registration and allow a person to apply for an absentee ballot online. They permit 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote.

During the past several election cycles, Democrat activists, backed by out-of-state, big-money donors, effectively used the ballot initiative process to repeal existing election laws, enact new laws, and amend the state constitution. Two of the largest contributors were the Sixteen Thirty Fund ($11 million) and the George Soros-founded Open Society Foundation ($1.2 million).

The ballot initiative method was employed to expand and institutionalize the use of mail-in ballot drop boxes, allow no-excuse absentee voting, permit same-day registration and voting, and shorten the length of residency required to register to vote.

The initiative process was also used to weaken photo ID requirements by mandating that election officials accept an affidavit of identity signed by the prospective voter instead. It also enabled people to request to automatically receive an absentee ballot for every election in perpetuity, and it authorized taxpayer-funded, postage-free mailing for people returning absentee ballot applications or mail-in ballots.

Left-wing activist groups also utilized the initiative process to obtain the constitutional right to nine consecutive days of early voting; and early voting sites can now be used by people from more than one community within a county.

The ballot proposals enacting these new laws were approved handily by the Michigan electorate at the polls.

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Tyler Durden Mon, 02/19/2024 - 14:35

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Macro Briefing: 19 February 2024

* ‘Soft landing’ debate for US economy in focus again after latest reports * New signs emerge that America’s shale-oil boom is peaking * US says…

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* ‘Soft landing’ debate for US economy in focus again after latest reports
* New signs emerge that America’s shale-oil boom is peaking
* US says it will react if China dumps goods on global markets
* China reports record upsurge in travel, which may presage stronger growth
* China’s central bank leaves key policy rate unchanged
* Regional banks are vulnerable to risk tied to commercial real estate lending
* US natural gas prices plunge amid warm winter weather
* US producer price inflation rose more than expected in January:

Younger adults grew their wealth at a sharply faster pace than older Americans in the wake of the pandemic, due primarily to holdings in stocks, according to a new study published by the New York Fed. “We examine wealth dynamics from 2019:Q1 through 2023:Q3 for three age groups: 18-39, 40-54, and 55 and over,” the report explains. “eal wealth has increased for all three age groups since 2019, but the change has been most dramatic for younger adults (see chart below). For individuals 39 and younger, wealth increased by 80 percent. In contrast, it grew by only 10 percent for those aged 40-54 and by 30 percent for those 55 and over.”

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