Greek SMEs strug­gle most to get fi­nanced

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Small and medium-sized com­pa­nies in Greece have the high­est need for bank fund­ing in the eu­ro­zone, but find it hard to get, a survey by the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion showed yes­ter­day. The survey high­lighted the eu­ro­zone’s eco­nomic di­vide whereby com­pa­nies in the cri­sis-stricken pe­riph­ery are hav­ing to pay more for loans than their peers in the core – a sign that the ECB’s ul­tra-loose mon­e­tary pol­icy is not reach­ing all coun­tries evenly. Small and medium-sized en­ter­prises (SMEs) form the back­bone of the eu­ro­zone econ­omy and rely mainly on bank fund­ing rather than cap­i­tal mar­kets, so ac­cess to loans is cru­cial to the re­gion’s eco­nomic re­cov­ery. The survey, con­ducted ev­ery six months, showed that SMEs in Greece re­ported the big­gest in­crease in de­mand for bank loans in April-Septem­ber, while SMEs in Ire­land, the Nether­lands, Aus­tria and Por­tu­gal re­ported, on bal­ance, a de­cline in their need for bank loans. At the same time, SMEs in Greece re­ported the most ob­sta­cles to se­cur­ing fi­nanc­ing, while com­pa­nies in Fin­land, Aus­tria and Bel­gium re­ported the low­est. In Greece, the net per­cent­age of SMEs that said it had be­come eas­ier to ob­tain bank loans rose to -21 per­cent from -40 per­cent in the pre­vi­ous survey, but the num­ber was still neg­a­tive and the ECB said “the level of the net per­cent­age con­tin­ues to sig­nal the pres­ence of sig­nif­i­cant dif­fi­cul­ties in ac­cess­ing bank credit.”

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