Small business sentiment largely intact in September quarter despite higher oil prices, rupee fall, says survey

Mumbai: Small business sentiment was "largely intact" in the September quarter despite the slew head of headwinds including higher oil prices and rupee depreciation, a survey said Tuesday.

The findings of the survey come amid heightened concerns over the the state of the micro, small and medium
enterprises (MSME) sector, which also led the RBI board to accept the need for a special dispensation to support such businesses.

The RBI board had decided on Monday to advice the management to come out with a scheme under which advances of up to Rs 25 crore to MSMEs can be restructured. The fourth Crisidex survey, jointly undertaken by Crisil and Sidbi, said lenders' sentiment has also increased since the last survey, for which 1,100 companies have responded.

Representational image. Reuters.

Representational image. Reuters.

Six out of ten lenders surveyed saw an improvement in the overall business situation of MSMEs and three out of 10 rated it as satisfactory, compared with four out of 10 each for positive and satisfactory last quarter.

For the next quarter, nine out of 10 lenders keep a "positive outlook" for MSMEs, it said. However, when it comes to asset quality, the lenders are not as optimistic, with six of the ten lenders expecting the NPAs ratios to be unchanged, one expecting an increase and three believing it will decrease.

The study said that the headwinds small businesses are grappling with the elevated oil prices and the rupee depreciation, besides the seasonality.

The Crisidex score stood at 124, which is a notch below the 127 for the preceding June quarter, but above the
121 in March or 107 in December 2017 quarter, it said.

A larger number of small businesses reported a satisfactory quarter even as share of those reporting negative
sentiment was unchanged, it said. Both in manufacturing and services, nearly 40 percent of them indicated a significant improvement in activity, it said, adding that companies in both the sectors expect the October-December period to be a "better quarter".

It said half of the respondents in both the services and manufacturing sectors expect positive momentum to continue in the next quarter, pointing out that auto components, engineering and capital goods, and metals and mining, healthcare, power and utilities and travel and hotels are the most optimistic.

The Crisil survey said 40 percent of the MSMEs reported an increase in order book, which is higher than the
previous two surveys, with export-oriented ones reporting a marginally lower order book growth.

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Updated Date: Nov 20, 2018 18:06:12 IST

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