ECONOMY

Confidence is growing among SMEs

The business sector in Greece is showing clear indications of recovery, but the extent to which local enterprises are seriously trailing their eurozone peers in terms of innovation is also apparent, according to a National Bank of Greece survey on the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Every six months, the survey records emerging trends among a sample of 1,000 SMEs, with the latest snapshot showing a 20-point increase in the confidence index. The gradual rebound of SMEs is illustrated by the general rise of the confidence indices in all sectors (industry, commerce, services and construction), with industry faring the best and construction still appearing vulnerable.

The improvement in the business climate, the report suggests, is assisting SMEs’ financial health, which is also reflected in the easing of cash flow problems. The percentage of SMEs that declared they had serious liquidity problems has declined to 33 percent in the second half of the year from 40 percent a year earlier.

This has convinced SMEs to make more aggressive investment plans, with 80 percent of the sample intending to make some sort of investment in the next couple of years, up from 67 percent at end-2012.