The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) for small and very small businesses in Greece witnessed a notable decline, leveling at 63.9 units in the second half of 2023, according to an annual survey conducted by the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen, and Merchants (GSEVEE), the country’s third-tier employers’ organization.

This drop follows a significant uptick in the ESI in the second half of 2022 (69.5 units) and a slight drop in the first half of 2023 (66.7 units).

On a positive note, the findings revealed that the financial results of small and very small businesses for 2023 were up, as approximately 6 out of 10 businesses (57.3%) reported profits, an increase compared to 2022 (51%). In addition, the survey indicated a high percentage of businesses had made investments in the second half of 2023 (37.2%).

The data showed that small and very small businesses were experiencing persistent liquidity challenges, while the effects of inflation for the past 2 years had impacted operational costs, surging by an average of 35%.

Some of the key findings in the survey were:

  • 57.3% of businesses reported profits in 2023.
  • Liquidity issues persist for small businesses. 1 in 4 (25.5%) businesses have zero available liquidity, while for 25.1%, cash reserves are sufficient for only one month.
  • Operational costs for businesses have increased by 35% on average over the last 2 years.

The economic sentiment indicator (ESI) is scaled to a long-term mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 10. It is a weighted average of the balances of replies to selected questions addressed to firms in five sectors. The sectors covered are industry (weight 40 %), services (30 %), consumers (20 %), retail (5 %) and construction (5 %)