Wed, 29 Jul 2009
From: The Jakarta Globe
By Ardian Wibisono
The nation’s small and medium-sized enterprises are increasingly optimistic that their businesses will improve in the second half of the year and are planning to make more investments and hire more workers, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

The semiannual survey, conducted by HSBC, polled more than 3,400 SMEs in 12 countries in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, including more than 300 respondents across a wide range of sectors in Indonesia.

The study examined respondents’ six-month outlooks for economic growth and plans for investment, employment and sales.

“The result of the Emerging Markets Small Business survey are quite encouraging, specifically for Indonesian SMEs,” Steve Miller, HSBC Indonesia’s head of business banking, said on Tuesday. “It seems that Indonesian SMEs are now ready to take action, which is different from the conservative wait-and-see attitude we saw in the January survey during the crisis.

“The most important aspect of the survey is the fact that Indonesian SMEs are ready to raise their capital for investment, which is a sign of their long-term commitment,” Miller added.

Jeffrey Thoeng, the senior vice president for business banking at HSBC Indonesia, said that 17 percent of Indonesian SMEs surveyed expected that the country’s gross domestic product growth would exceed 4 percent this year.

In addition, 37 percent of local respondents said that they were looking to increase their capital expenditures, compared with only 24 percent in the final quarter of 2008.

The survey also showed that the employment picture for SMEs was also improving, with 77 percent of local respondents planning to keep their payrolls steady and a further 15 percent planning to make additional hires, up from 13 percent at the end of 2008.

“SMEs that engage in international trade, especially with China, are the most optimistic ones, with 30 percent expecting trade volumes with the mainland to grow by up to 20 percent this year,” Thoeng said.

Sandiaga Uno, vice president for SMEs at the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), said that the survey echoed earlier predictions made by Kadin that the nation’s SME’s would grow by between 15 percent and 20 percent, despite the global economic downturn.

“We have a resilient SME sector and domestic economy. We are also sure that confidence will soar in 2010,” Sandiaga said, adding that food production and creative industries were among the most promising SME sectors.

He also said that Kadin hoped the nation’s banks would lower their interest rates to help support SME growth.

“Our predictions were made excluding the possibility of improvements to the country’s infrastructure and high-cost economy,” Sandiaga said. “We hope that the new government will take care of these longstanding problems so that growth will be even better in coming years.”



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