In our 35th Insolvency by the Numbers, we look at our data set for September 2023 and past years to see how the month has tracked and what may be coming up in the coming months.
With September coming to an end, we are in the last two weeks of NZ’s latest election campaign. As predicted it has been a month of promises and debates from all parties. Unsurprisingly like with a lot of our past elections there is a level of uncertainty across all markets from housing, the economy and the stock market.
The September OCR announcement once again saw no change to the rate, however heavy emphasis was given to the idea that we may be in line for further raises, potentially in November of this year before the Reserve Bank breaks for three months over Christmas.
Company Insolvencies – Liquidations, Receiverships, and Voluntary Administrations
Company insolvency appointments for September 2023 combined across all insolvency types continue to outnumber all years back to 2019. Compared to the 2022 figures, 2023 is up on prior Septembers sitting at 165 for the month. You will note that the gap in August 2023 figures has also grown with late advertised appointments that ended the month at 195.
Across the board with the exception of court appointment liquidations the numbers have been right on the average. Court appointment liquidations were twice the long term average at 63 for the month. The increase in court appointment liquidations has continued strongly on the back of steady winding up applications driven by the IRD and its recovery efforts.
September total corporate insolvency figures for the year to date remain within a stones throw of 2019 figures. The 2023 year to date fell short by 1 appointment when compared to 2021 year-end figures.
The below graph shows the continued separation in corporate and personal insolvency figures as personal insolvency remains at its rather low levels.
Winding Up Applications
September saw a slight drop from August but remains above past Septembers. As mentioned last month while it is below June and August figures it is likely the result of a continued consistent increase in figures evening out compared to the usual spike we see in June/July. So, a longer sustained lift rather than a June/July spike and drop off.
In September, there has been a consistent rise in the total number of winding up applications compared to past Septembers. For instance, in September 2021, there were 27 applications, with 10 being company winding up applications and 17 being IRD winding up applications. September 2022 saw an increase, with 49 total applications, including 14 company winding up applications and 35 IRD winding up applications. September 2023 continued this upward trend, with 82 applications, consisting of 38 company winding up applications and 44 IRD winding up applications.
From the below graph we continue to see that IRD’s September 2023 winding up applications now makes up just over 50% of all creditors and is a rather sudden drop when looking at the last 3 months. Whether this is the result of the upcoming election and a wind back in action by IRD or the wind down in the lead up to Christmas will become evident in the coming months.
Personal Insolvencies – Bankruptcy, No Asset Procedure and Debt Repayment Orders.
Personal insolvency appointments remain low and continue looking very similar to 2022 figures. This is not expected to change until the personal guarantees start to get called up by creditors in liquidations (landlords, trade creditors banks etc), and lending taken out on high interest rate loans to meet increasing cost of living catches up with people, often after the Christmas holidays and when the first credit card bills come in over February.
While there is a lot of focus on the economy and cost of living from all parties and their respective policy’s focusing on it accordingly, the numbers show that total insolvency appointments remain behind the last two elections. This is largely the result of very low personal insolvency appointments and insolvency figures being a lagging indicator for the economy as a whole.
Where to from here?
The signs continue to point to the NZ economy being in for continued pain for the foreseeable future with it likely to get worse before it gets better. The OCR is unlikely to be dropped till mid-2025 and inflation just keeps biting.