Fewer bankruptcies despite harsh economic climate

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

Last year's civil servants' strike distorted September's liquidations statistics.

According to Statistics SA 328 businesses went bankrupt in September, a 35percent drop from the 507 that closed their doors in September last year.

Last year's September figure doubled because of paperwork getting processed late from June's civil servant strike.

But even without the strike backlog, Statistics SA's liquidations data defies economic logic that bankruptcies should be on the rise due to high borrowing costs.

The nine months to September this year saw liquidations decrease four percent to 2365 compared to the same period last year. This is despite business now having to cope with a prime interest rate of 15,5percent versus 13percent last year.

Insolvencies, however, did show the expected worsening due to the tougher economic climate. The eight months to August saw 1886 insolvencies, a 48percent rise from the same time last year.

Stats SA's figures indicate small business is suffering most, with closed corporations making up 55percent of liquidated companies for the year to September.