The risk of insolvency is increasing across Asia Pacific, with the Chinese slowdown and commodity prices having a significant drag on trade payments.

The annual regional survey from credit insurer Coface shows that 70% of companies operating across eight countries experienced late payments in 2014, with 37% saying that the number of overdue payments rose over the course of the year.

The highest rise came in India, where a massive 86% of respondents reported late payments, up 17% on the previous year. In Singapore, 85% of traders were paid late, with 89% in Thailand suffering the same fate.

Meanwhile, despite fears over the Australian economy’s reliance on China and exposure to volatile commodity sectors, the companies Down Under reported a significant improvement in payments experience, with 74% having been paid late, down from 85% a year earlier.

The sectors affected worst were some of those most heavily exposed to China’s slowdown: household appliances, chemicals, building materials and steel.

Some chemical companies have been left chastened by the fall in oil and metals prices, with Coface’s chief economist for the region Rocky Tung telling GTR: “Lots of traders were going long on metals, betting the wrong way. Then when the prices came down, buyers were asking for discounts. A lot of these traders, in China, run away from their debts.”

The rise in payment defaults and delays in India was also felt most acutely in construction: underwriters across the industry have reported huge increases in overdue payments from companies directly or indirectly related to the construction industry (such as infrastructure).

When speaking to companies around the region, it’s clear that access to bank finance remains a key issue. This has become particularly problematic in China, where the government has clamped down on non-regulated lending through the shadow banking system.

According to Tung, this has the potential to increase insolvencies, but Beijing is taking steps to try to limit the impact. The government has allowed the creation of a number of private banks, designed to get finance to SMEs, who are most impacted by the crackdown on non-bank lending. For more than 20 years, such companies have been reliant on non-official channels to obtain debt finance.

The country’s financial regulators granted six licenses to technology and networking companies last year with a view to creating an online lending network. In January, Tencent Holdings, the company behind the omnipotent WeChat messaging application, set up the country’s first online-only bank, WeBank, which is due to start lending in 2015.

Along with cuts in profits tax payable to local authorities, it’s hoped that the creation of such micro-financing institutions will help SMEs deal with the crackdown in shadow banking.

A more positive finding of the report is that companies were less frequently troubled by ultra-long overdue payments (longer than 180 days) in 2014, with only 24.9% of those surveyed reporting that more than 2% of annual turnover was outstanding in payments, down from 29.6% in 2013 and 37.2% in 2012.