Most Spanish companies have recognized that they have raised their sales prices between April 2021 and March of this year, in a context marked by rising prices and high uncertainty due to the war in Ukraine. These increases would have been “intense” in 27% of companies and “moderate” at 37%, percentages similar to those registered for the group of countries in the eurozone; and predict that this upward trend will continue in the coming months.
It is one of the main conclusions of the Bank of Spain report published this Thursday that analyzes the economic evolution of Spanish companies, prepared in accordance with the six-monthly survey of the European Central Bank (ECB) for the period between October 2021 and March 2022 A total of 1,300 Spanish companies participated in it, 90% being small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The companies justify this increase in their sales prices by the increase in inflation, the increase in the costs of inputs (energy and other materials) and the growth in labor costs. Precisely this Wednesday we knew that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) shot up its year-on-year rate to 10.2%its highest level since April 1985, due to increases in fuel, food and non-alcoholic beverages,
Precisely when asked what is the main problem that affects its activity22% of Spanish SMEs highlighted the increase in the costs of raw materials and labor as the most relevant problem, 7 points more than in the previous edition.
The activity of SMEs grows, but at a slower pace
Despite this, the activity of Spanish SMEs continued to grow between October and March, although at a slower rate than that registered six months earlier. By sectors, all maintained a positive evolution of their sales, although services recorded less dynamic behavior: Only 2.9% of SMEs in this sector reported an increase in their turnover compared to the previous 12.2%, which could be due to measures restricting activity after the rebound in COVID-19 infections. 19 during part of this period.
For its part, rising costs led to deteriorating corporate profits for most of these companies. Specifically, 23%, 7 points more.
However, despite the high level of uncertainty, the economic expectations of Spanish SMEs for the period between April and September of this year are “positive”, since 27.2% of them estimate that their sales will grow in this period.
They anticipate a deterioration in access to financing
Regarding the financial situation, the survey reveals that the proportion of SMEs that applied for bank loans between October 2021 and April 2022 remained at low levels, both in Spain (22%) and in the EMU (23%). Is about the lowest values recorded since the beginning of the survey (in 2009), and this is due -according to the Bank of Spain- to the fact that a high percentage of SMEs still maintain a remnant of liquidity, after, in the period from April to September 2020, in the context of the pandemic , many turned to credit to cover their financing needs.
For their part, the companies surveyed indicated that the degree of accessibility to bank loans remained stable. Specifically, the indicator that reports on the difficulties in obtaining bank financing remained at low values, both in Spain and in the EMU, around 8%. In both cases the variations are minimal compared to the previous period.
For the next six months, however, they anticipate a deterioration in access to financing, which would be “most likely related” to their negative perception given the greater uncertainty generated after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, says the supervisor.