Recent lockdown measures in China are once again causing delays at their ports, just as the shipping and freight delays looked to be easing. This will continue to keep freight prices high and flow through to the end consumer and businesses.
With a cooling Housing sector delays and cost increases will continue to keep the pressure on developers in the building industry, where building materials for the large number of building consents issued continues to constrain supply. How these shortages and labour shortages are managed by developers and building companies will continue to be of interest; they can do little but watch on as their margins continue to whittle away on their ongoing projects.
If you have been into or used a business in recent weeks since the Omicron outbreak became widespread, you will have noticed that a lot of businesses that require a physical presence are having trouble keeping up with demand. This includes, but is not limited to, hospitality and retail among other industries that have found themselves short staffed with 7-day isolations periods for household contacts as Omicron runs through schools.
Inflation pressures continue to mount from households and businesses with petrol prices jogging past $3 per litre for 91 in very short order prompting government intervention to provide a 25c tax reduction for a 3-month period to relieve some of the pressure.
With the opening of the border in the coming weeks and months we are seeing a number of economists predicting that we will see a further tightening of the labour market in a number of sectors as New Zealanders are drawn overseas to pursue their OE or journey outside of NZ since the borders became locked, whether this will be Australia to fill roles in the building or mining sectors or Europe and wider.
Company Insolvencies – Liquidations, Receiverships, and Voluntary Administrations
Company appointments are in line with the standard February uptick but to date remain below past years February appointments. IRD have been noted applying pressure to the South Island cities and parts of the North Island. Their efforts in enforcement in the Auckland region continue to remain at the lower level for the time being.
Solvent liquidations, as in number of appointments and as a percentage, continues to remain consistent. Directors and shareholders continue to clean up their financial affairs and free up the funds in their solvent companies for other endeavours.
Court liquidations have begun to pick up following the Dec – Jan close down period for courts and solicitors. This will likely peak in March 2022, as in past years March tends to be higher than other months as the end of the financial year and can be seen to set the tone for the year and appointment figures moving forward.
Price Wise (2020) Limited – The liquidation of the new company that had purchased the Price Wise businesses following their insolvency and sale in 2020/2021.
Probuild Construction (Australia) Administration Condev Construction Liquidation – Both are large Australian construction companies that have recently experienced insolvency issues and could be considered precursors for what we may see in the NZ construction sector, no doubt there will be flow on effects from these large company insolvencies.
Insolvency by Industry
“Construction & Property” industry company appointments continue to make up the largest sector up to 35% from 25% in January 2022. These figures include both solvent and insolvent appointments. “Administration and Support Services”, along with “Accommodation and Food Services” each make up 13% and bring the total share of the pie to well over 60% between 3 sectors. While “Retail Trade” appointments for the month have dropped, the remaining industries continue their shuffle each picking up and dropping off a few percentage points for no noticeable changes.
Winding Up Applications
Winding up notices continue their upwards trend but remain below past years levels.
Of note IRD now make up 40% of appointments in February up from 0% in December but well below levels seen in June & July 2021 appointment levels when they made up 70% of total appointments. There is definitely room to move before they return to their historic levels.
Personal Insolvencies – Bankruptcy, No Asset Procedure and Debt Repayment Orders.
The continued reduction in bankruptcies continues with more focus on the No Asset Procedure and Debt Repayment Order alternatives by budget advisors and other professional service providers so that people are placed into the best insolvency option of their situation, which is always a good thing.
Of note back in 2009 we saw 3000+ bankruptcies in the calendar year while in 2021 we are down to just over 600 appointments. This is a huge drop over that time.