ECONOMY

Liquidity woes hit 86 pct of firms

The vast majority of businesses are struggling due to the lack of liquidity, which is creating a range of problems in the market and consequently forcing a number of enterprises to shut down. In addition to seeing a sharp drop in consumption levels, businesses are also finding their access to funding shut off, as banks do not want to want to increase their risk of incurring bad loans. Moreover, the last two programs run by the state’s Credit Guarantee Fund for Small and Very Small Enterprises (TEMPME), which provides cheap loans to help with the repayment of tax and social security obligations, have not been successful. The results of a survey conducted by the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) on 523 businesses via the Internet showed that 86 percent of respondents are facing liquidity problems, while just over half (51 percent) described the problem as serious. At the same time, nine out of 10 businesses have recorded a significant drop in turnover due to the crisis. Nearly nine in 10 businesses said they were have difficulties getting funding from the bank, while just 2 percent said they had no such problem. Eighty-two percent of those questioned replied that they have come across obstacles in an attempt to obtain access to EU programs. «The survey results confirm the difficult position in which the vast majority of businesses are finding themselves. Apart from the recession hurting the market, the inability of businesses to access finance and get benefits from European Union programs is also playing an important role,» said Constantinos Michalos, president of EBEA. The slowdown in credit being pumped into businesses is also reflected in Bank of Greece data. Figures from the central bank show that annual loan growth to households and businesses in June slowed to 2.5 percent, from 2.8 percent in May and 4.2 percent at the end of last year.