In 2022 business and recruitments slowed down though remaining quite dynamic, in a context of severe production constraints
SMEs are expecting an average growth in turnover of 5,7% for 2022 after having estimated 7 last year. The balance of opinion has fallen 8 points over one year to stand at +27 a level well above its long term average (+14). Supply difficulties are holding back the upturn, even if they have eased slightly this half year While recruitment is tending to stagnate, the indicator remains well above its long term average.
After a highly favourable situation last year, SMEs’ cash flow situation has deteriorated this half year, a tendency that looks set to continue over the next six months.
While it has deteriorated over the course of the previous sixmonths, the cash flow situation for SMEs remains at a fairly comfortable level. The balance of opinion has dropped 4 points since May, but is still above its long term average (-9 versus -15). However, it looks set to see further deterioration in the first six months of 2023 with the provisional indicator falling 3 points to -15 in a context of rises in energy costs, affecting profits, and in production costs generally.
To cope with rising costs, an increasing number of SMEs are drawing on their state guaranteed loans
Of SMEs having taken out a state guaranteed loan, 57% declare that they have used most of it (with 38% having consumed virtually all of it), a proportion that has risen 3 points over six months and 10 points over one year.
In 2022 investment has stagnated in a context of rising financing costs
47% of SMEs declare having invested in 2022, a proportion that has remained stable compared with 2021 but is lower than
before the crisis (51% end 2019). The indicator regarding the evolution in the amounts invested has fallen 8 points over one
year to 1 with the cost of credit becoming a serious obstacle, to investment for 34% of SMEs Nevertheless, the proportion of
managing directors facing credit access difficulties is still low (12%).
For 2023 business prospects look bleak in a very uncertain context
The balance of opinion on the expected development of business has fallen 25 points to +6 below its long term average (+17). Uncertainties continue to reign, particularly with regard to developments in supply difficulties and rising energy costs Investment expenditure has come to a halt (balance of opinion down by 7 points, approaching 2012-2013 levels).
Escalating energy costs in 2023 expected by the majority of SMEs, could slow down their business still further or even threaten projects completely
In particular, in the short term, more than a third of industrial SMEs are exposed to risks associated with the sharp hike in electricity prices (having fixed price contracts that are renewable by the end of 2023 or contracts indexed to the market price)