Busi­ness out­look ap­pears grim

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

Four in 10 busi­nesses (40.3 per­cent) con­sider it likely they will have to shut up shop this year, a Hel­lenic Con­fed­er­a­tion of Pro­fes­sion­als, Crafts­men and Mer­chants (GSEVEE) sur­vey pub­lished yes­ter­day has shown.

Around 18,700 en­ter­prises are seen clos­ing in the first six months of the year, forc­ing thou­sands to join the grow­ing un­em­ploy­ment lines. The ma­jor­ity of those busi­nesses are man­u­fac­tur­ers in and around the cap­i­tal, while the job losses in­volved are ex­pected to come to 34,000.

Seven in 10 busi­nesses re­ported in­creas­ing liq­uid­ity prob­lems and a short­age of cap­i­tal from the mar­ket, with the num­ber of firms in­debted to the state and their sup­pli­ers grow­ing by 10 per­cent from last year.

Over four in five small and medium-sized en­ter­prises (SMEs) ad­mit to be­ing ex­posed to credit risks, see­ing a slump in eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and op­er­at­ing with the prospect of shrink­ing rather than ex­pand­ing in the near fu­ture.

In terms of em­ploy­ment, the fore­casts for the first half of the year do not bode well, as for ev­ery two busi­nesses (8.1 per­cent of the to­tal) that plan to hire new staff, another three will be let­ting peo­ple go. GSEVEE es­ti­mates that 2,000 salaried jobs will be lost by June, with­out ac­count­ing for the im­pact on em­ploy­ment of the pro­jected shut­downs.

More­over, 40 per­cent of those busi­nesses that do plan to hire staff in the first half of 2017 said they won’t be of­fer­ing pay­roll po­si­tions, but part-time or out­sourced work.

Sen­ti­ment is also bleak, with 58.8 per­cent of re­spon­dents ex­pect­ing con­di­tions to de­te­ri­o­rate and just 11 per­cent see­ing a pos­si­ble im­prove­ment through June. As such, just 3.6 per­cent of busi­nesses plan to make new investments and 6.4 per­cent have ap­plied to investment fund­ing pro­grams for that pe­riod.

“There needs to be a na­tional plan for the coun­try ir­re­spec­tive of who is in power, and politi­cians need to learn how to make de­ci­sions and give or­ders,” GSEVEE pres­i­dent Gior­gos Ka­vathas said. “More­over, the un­cer­tainty of the sit­u­a­tion con­cern­ing the out­come of the ne­go­ti­a­tions [with for­eign cred­i­tors] ex­ac­er­bates fears and risks, which in turn make small busi­nesses and the self-em­ployed more vul­ner­a­ble.”

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