SMEs were hit hardest by the capital controls

SMEs were hit hardest by the capital controls

Small and medium-sized enterprises have proved much more vulnerable in the face of political uncertainty and the capital controls than bigger companies, as in 2015 they saw their sales and exports shrink faster than their larger peers, according to a National Bank of Greece report.

Even when the capital controls are finally lifted, smaller enterprises are expected to recover at a slower pace than bigger firms. The difference in companies’ resistance to pressure is not only related to their size but also their sector, as the construction and retail commerce sectors appear to be the weakest links.

The NBG survey showed that SMEs recorded a 15 percent decline in sales during the third quarter of 2015, just after the government introduced the capital controls, compared with the same period in 2014. In the second quarter the annual decline had amounted to 4 percent on the prevailing political and economic uncertainty.

At the same time, larger companies suffered a much smaller drop in sales volume in the July-September period, amounting to 7.8 percent year-on-year. Now, over 50 percent of them say they will be able to return to normal volumes once the capital controls are lifted.

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