The crisis in Ukraine is beginning to affect SMEs and VSEs

60% of the bosses questioned plan to increase their selling prices to pass on the increase in expenses such as that of raw materials.

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In what state of mind do SME bosses go through this second quarter? Bpifrance, the public investment bank, and the Rexecode economic institute published their latest barometer on Wednesday May 11. Nearly one in two companies think that they will be strongly impacted by the war in Ukraine.

This survey was carried out during the second half of April with just over 2,000 SMEs and VSEs. The latter employ from one to 249 employees and generate less than 250 million euros in turnover. In other words, it is the entrepreneurial field with a human dimension which is the most sensitive to the vagaries of the economic situation, because it is much less solid than the large structures.

Cash, equity, investment and growth, the four markers are deteriorating but remain favorable overall. Where we could have expected a sharp slowdown because of the war in Ukraine, we find companies that are rather resilient, resistant to the prevailing context. But the difficulties are more insistent than in the previous survey.

Energy prices are rising, supply problems are hampering production and, in addition to the impact on cash flow, investment intentions have been revised downwards: 55% of managers questioned – this is still more than half – plan to invest this year. They were almost 60% to consider it in February. Borrowing to innovate is becoming a little more complicated and it is not likely to improve with the rise in interest rates.

As far as selling prices are concerned, 60% of the bosses questioned plan to increase them to pass on the increase in costs such as that of raw materials. But aware of this inflation, small bosses are more numerous than in the previous wave to plan to increase the salaries of their employees. This is the illustration of what economists call the loop “price-wages” Where “the second round effect” : when inflation leads to higher wage demands which in turn generate inflation. An infernal spiral that the public authorities want to avoid at all costs. We are clearly there.

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