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SMEs’ expectations of further improvements in access to external financing remain comparatively solid

For the period October 2018 to March 2019, SMEs expect improvements in the availability of external funding sources, but at a more moderate pace than in previous survey rounds (see Chart 26). Specifically, a net 4% of SMEs anticipates better access to bank loans (the most important source of external financing for SMEs), which is much lower than the 11% net that actually reported better access in the period April-September 2018. Expectations are similar for access to most other external financing instruments, including trade credit (7% expected, versus 12% obtained), credit lines (5% versus 11%), other loans (4% versus 7%), and leasing and leasing (11% versus 16%). While this round of the survey found a change in the size of the availability of debt securities issued by SMEs (-4%), expectations remain on the positive side (3%). However, these figures should be treated with some caution as the percentage of companies answering this question in the survey remains extremely low (only 2.

Table 26

Change in the expectations of euro area companies regarding the availability of funding.

(during previous six months; net percentages of respondents)

Q9. For each of the following types of financing, would you say that your availability has improved, remained unchanged, or deteriorated for your business in the past six months? P23. Looking ahead, for each of the following types of financing available to your business, indicate whether you believe your availability will improve, deteriorate, or remain unchanged over the next six months.

Base: Companies for which the respective instrument is relevant. Figures refer to round nineteen (April-September 2018) of the survey.
Note: see notes to Table 1 and Table 11 .

In particular, microenterprises appear to be considerably less optimistic than large enterprises about the outlook for bank loans (with 0% net of microenterprises expecting improvements, as opposed to 5% net that reports real improvements in the current round) and commercial credit (2% vs. 8%). Large firms, which appear to have benefited more so far from improvements in external financing, were also relatively cautious about other improvements. The net percentage of large firms that expected improvements was generally much lower than the net percentage of those that reported real improvements for bank loans (1% vs. 18%), trade credit (10% vs. 17%), and other forms of external financing. This was also the case for debt securities (7% vs. -15%), although these results should be treated with great caution since very few companies answered the question.

The decline in expectations of further improvements in access to external financing was widespread in the larger euro area countries (see Chart 27 ). In general, German SMEs expect a reduction in the availability of bank loans in the next six months (-1% against 10% reporting an increase in real availability), while SMEs in other countries still expect future increases, but with reduced optimism (see Graph 27 ).

Chart 27

Change in the expectations of SMEs in the euro area with respect to the availability of financing.

(during previous six months; net percentages of respondents)

Q9. For each of the following types of financing, would you say that your availability has improved, remained unchanged, or deteriorated for your business in the past six months? P23. Looking ahead, for each of the following types of financing available to your business, indicate whether you believe your availability will improve, deteriorate, or remain unchanged over the next six months.

Reference sources:

https://www.ecb.europa.eu/stats/ecb_surveys/safe/html/index.en.html

http://www.surveyonaccesstofinance.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Spain_ES_V3.pdf

https://www.ecb.europa.eu/stats/accesstofinancesofenterprises/html/ecb.safe201811.en.html#toc16

 

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