More than 2.2 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany recorded sales losses in March due to the coronavirus crisis, according to a company survey published by the German development bank KfW on Tuesday. The German SMEs was currently “firmly in the grip of the coronavirus crisis,” KfW warned. The existence of many SMEs was threatened.

According to the survey conducted with about 3,400 companies, SMEs in Germany lost around 75 billion euros (81 billion U.S. dollars) or 2 percent of their annual turnover in March. “Slumps in sales, melting liquidity cushions and uncertain prospects for the continuation of the coronavirus pandemic and the containment measures are causing the once good mood to fade,” said KfW. More than half of all German companies had recorded sales losses and German SMEs had lost an average of 53 percent of anticipated turnover in March, the KfW survey showed.

However, not all SMEs in Germany had recorded losses in turnover. The survey found that 40 percent of German SMEs had approximately the same turnover, in particular, larger SMEs and companies in the construction industry. A few medium-sized companies in Germany, 2 percent, even recorded growth, for example, in the retail sector, according to the survey.

“The resistance of SMEs to unexpected events has improved enormously over the past decade,” KfW noted. The financial cushions built up in the past helped temporarily absorb losses in the current crisis and reduce the pressure on liquidity. In Germany, some measures to counteract the spread of the coronavirus had already been eased which also would give reason to the “hope” for an easing of the situation in the SME sector, KfW noted.

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