Eastern Europe: buoyant business mood tempered by risk

Payment Practices Barometer

  • Bulgaria,
  • Czech Republic,
  • Hungary,
  • Poland,
  • Romania,
  • Slovakia,
  • Turkey
  • Agriculture,
  • Automotive/Transport,
  • Chemicals/Pharma,
  • Construction,
  • Consumer Durables,
  • Food,
  • Metals,
  • Steel

1st December 2021

Most of the businesses polled in Eastern Europe predict growth in 2022. However, this optimistic outlook is tempered by the acknowledgement of downside risks.


Atradius conducts annual reviews of international corporate payment practices through a survey called the ‘Atradius Payment Practices Barometer’. This year’s survey results show businesses in all major regions worldwide, including Eastern Europe, are poised for the next stage of the pandemic. Most of the benchmarks showing year-on-year payments behaviour remained relatively stable for the majority of businesses that we polled across the region. Although the greatest insolvencies risk next year will spare Eastern Europe from the most severe predictions, this does not mean that businesses located in the region will be immune from insolvency risk over the coming months. Businesses throughout Eastern Europe, especially those involved in export and international trade, would be well advised to take steps to protect their accounts receivable now, before we enter the more challenging insolvency conditions that 2022 is likely to present.

Key takeaways from the report

  • Survey results in Eastern Europe reveal that half of all B2B sales involved trade credit this year. Although there was some variation across countries, the average for the region has not changed compared to one year ago. Businesses offering credit to customers told us they did so to stimulate sales, both by encouraging repeat business with existing customers and to win new customers. Many businesses also told us they turned down credit requests because of increased financing costs.
  • 43% of the total value of sales was reported overdue this year, a slight improvement on last year’s 45%. Write-offs amounted to 5%, the same percentage as last year.
  • 66% of the region opted to retain credit risk in-house, ideally by setting aside bad debt funds (up from 62% last year). A significant number of these told us they spent more time, resources and incurred increased costs to collect unpaid invoices this year and said they paid more sourcing external financing.
  • 56% of the businesses we polled across Eastern Europe protected their accounts receivable with trade credit insurance this year. Many told us they planned to take out credit insurance next year as a more cost effective solution for maximising cash flow and minimising collection costs.
  • Looking into 2022, 73% of the region predict growth in 2022. This optimistic outlook, however, is tempered by acknowledgement of downside risks. Primary among these is ongoing uncertainty about the evolution of the pandemic and its continuation into 2022.
  • When asked which pandemic-induced changes are likely to become a permanent feature of the way they do business, 57% said increased digitalisation and 51% said home working. 39% told us that they had adapted to changes in customer demand, and reshaped supply chains.

Interested in getting to know more?

The Payment Practices Barometer report for Eastern Europe gives insights into B2B payment practices and businesses' approach to the management of customer credit risk in the following countries (please cklick on the country to access the dedicated page):

For a complete overview of the survey results for the region, please download the full report available in the Related documents section below. The Statistical Appendix to the regional reports is also available free to download in the Related documents section below.

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