Banking & finance

Trade defaults rise due to COVID-19 but overall performance not significantly out of line with longer-term range

  • 17 June 2021
ICC Banking and Trade Finance

ICC – along with partners Boston Consulting Group and Global Credit Data – has published interim findings from its Trade Register on the performance of short-term trade and supply chain finance assets from 2019 and 2020.

Preliminary analysis of the data for these assets has identified an increase in defaults across most trade finance products in 2020, which is likely at least in part attributable to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic activity – and related shifts in demand and supply.

However, whilst 2020 default rates are higher than recent years, they are not significantly out of line with the average default rates reported by the Trade Register over the 14-year period for which data has been collected.

The factors behind the performance of trade assets in 2020 will be explored in detail by this year’s ICC Trade Register report, including an analysis of the likely “cushioning” impact of government economic support – such as, emergency state-backed lending.

At product level, a number of initial trends have been identified:

Meanwhile, 2019 presented a more mixed picture, with the moderate increases across the portfolio vs. prior years likely driven by SME defaults – potentially indicating an emerging downturn in the economic cycle prior to the pandemic.

ICC has noted that these headline findings are based on an initial analysis of a partial data set – and, as such, should be treated with a degree of caution. ICC, BCG, and GCD teams are in the process of finalising and validating data submissions from member banks, with a view to publishing the final ICC Trade Register report in early September 2021.

A new operational model for the ICC Trade Register

Following consultation with member banks, ICC has also announced a change to the operating model of the initiative, in order to: (i) better differentiate its offering to members of the Trade Register; (ii) encourage more banks to submit data to; and (iii) ensure the long-term commercial viability of the programme.

The key details of the changes are as follows:

Member banks (participants)Other banksLarge investors and non-banks (>€50m revenues)Small investors and non-banks

(<€50m revenues)

Academics (ICC recognised) & regulatorsAssociations and non-profits (ICC recognised)Public (open release)
FeeUp to €15,000[1] (unchanged)€40,000€40,000€20,000No charge (to be agreed on case-by-case basis)€2,500No charge
ContentsDetailed PDF report


Granular data tables and charts


Interactive dashboard / benchmarks

Detailed PDF report


Granular data tables and charts

Aggregated global results – by product only (1-2 page PDF)

For more information on the ICC Trade Register 2020, including any questions on the new commercial / operating model, please reach out to: and

[1] Total fees payable dependent on product participation