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Euler Hermes, the world’s largest provider of trade credit insurance, mines its database of receivables each quarter to project performance of the broader economy. “Our clients are telling us who is paying slowly, for how much, and how far they are behind,” says Dan North, chief economist at Euler Hermes. “Past-due receivables indicate that a company doesn’t have enough cash to pay all its bills that are due today. Revenue may not match expectations, or the company may not be able to get financing because its creditors are seeing some degree of financial stress. So we look at trends in past-dues as a sign of financial stress by industry and across the economy overall.”

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