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Cyprus businesses mostly unhappy with government support measures

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One in ten Cypriot businesses said that they consider the government’s support measures to have helped, while two in ten businesses consider that they have helped to an adequate degree, according to the results of the business panel survey released on Tuesday.

This survey records the trends of the business community every six months and acts as a benchmark for Cypriot businesses, covering among other things trends and forecasts regarding business performance.

Metrics and indicators include employment, turnover, profitability, and liquidity, among others, as well as strategic choices and other related parameters. The total representative sample of the survey amounts to 252 businesses, with the survey taking place between June and July 2022.

In the results of the survey, regarding the help of the government’s measures to support businesses, only one in ten businesses (11 per cent) consider that they have helped a lot, while two in ten businesses (23 per cent) consider that the measures have helped a little.

The majority of businesses, with a percentage of 66 per cent, seem not to have been satisfied with the help they received through the government’s support measures.

When it comes to the most important issues facing businesses today, the cost of raw materials and energy seem to be the two biggest concerns, with seven out of ten businesses (68 per cent) having included it in their suggestions.

These are followed by staffing issues and labour shortages with 49 per cent, as well as a lack of liquidity and excessive bureaucracy with 43 per cent and 41 per cent respectively.

The lack of raw materials was a concern for 31 per cent of participants, followed by lower turnover with 27 per cent, banking restrictions and requirements with 23 per cent, issues with suppliers and personnel costs with 21 per cent respectively, while the image of Cyprus abroad and financing from banks were in the bottom two places.

The results show that the training of existing staff is, according to one in five companies, the primary way of dealing with the problems they face today.

Equally important is finding new methods of promoting products with a percentage of 17 per cent, followed by digitisation with 14 per cent.

Moreover, this is followed by the hiring of specialised staff and the introduction of performance measurement and monitoring systems with 11 per cent, the finding of funds with 8 per cent, as well as the utilisation of European funds, cooperation with other companies, and a change in organisational structure with 7 per cent respectively.

Regarding business turnover, this shows an increase compared to the very low percentages from the two previous editions of the survey, but remains at low levels nonetheless.

In more detail, 24 per cent of businesses report that their turnover has increased during the last six months, however, the percentage of companies declaring a decrease in their turnover remains at quite high levels, with 41 per cent overall.

A similar trend, with a slight increase in some cases but at generally low levels, was also observed in the profitability index, as well as in the receipts and liquidity index.

In relation to labour costs, according to the participating companies, this shows a significant increase compared to previous years, with 34 per cent of businesses stating that it has increased and only 3 per cent reporting a decrease.

The survey also shows that the cost of financing for businesses continues to rise, with 15 per cent stating that it has increased during the relevant period of time.

Furthermore, businesses’ raw material purchasing costs are exhibiting a sharp rise, with eight in ten businesses (81 per cent) reporting that they have increased, even in terms of last year’s elevated rate. Notably, this percentage is very high, even when compared to all of the previous years of conducting the survey.

In terms of the index concerning the value of the company, as well as the index of diversification of the company’s investments, there is a slight stabilisation compared to last year.

What is more, nine out of ten businesses expect their business energy costs to increase over the next six months, with just 1 per cent saying they expect some reduction.

According to business forecasts for turnover for the next six months, 30 per cent of businesses said that it would remain the same, 34 per cent that it would show a decrease and 28 per cent expect an increase.

A slightly different trend can be observed in the forecasts for business profitability, with 42 per cent stating that they expect it to remain the same, 37 per cent to decrease and 11 per cent to increase.

Regarding the forecasts for the other economic indicators for the next six months, the vast majority of companies (75 per cent) state that energy costs will increase.

A large increase is also expected to occur in the cost of purchasing raw materials (61 per cent).

As for the remaining indicators, participating businesses generally expect stability for the next half-year without particularly noticeable changes.

Meanwhile, the survey also reflected the strategic choices of businesses for the next half-year, which are mainly aimed at the introduction of new products and services with a percentage of 27 per cent.

This was followed by an intensification of promotional actions with 19 per cent, as well as the further reduction of business costs with 18 per cent.

Conversely, four out of ten companies (41 per cent) have reported that there is no firm plan going forward.

Finally, regarding future help from the state, businesses’ views converge on the acceleration of licensing procedures for new projects and investments, the rapid implementation and granting of incentives, as well as the reduction of bureaucracy.

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