December 13, 2018
The Small and Medium Enterprise Agency
The Survey of SME Business Conditions is a quarterly survey conducted by the Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, targeting approximately 19,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across Japan in cooperation with business management advisors from commerce and industry, chambers of commerce, and researchers from the National Federation of Small Business Associations.
The Small and Medium Enterprise Agency (SMEA) and the organization jointly compiled the business achievements (diffusion indices, or DIs) of SMEs for the October-December 2018 period and the forecasts (DIs) for the January-March 2019 period concerning SME business conditions, sales amounts, ordinary profits, and other data.
Key point of the survey results
Even though progress in some industries appears to have paused, the recent business conditions of SMEs basically tend to show moderate improvement.
The repercussions from the impact caused by a string of natural disasters in the previous quarter are considered an important factor in the business conditions in this period. Meanwhile, a sense of a labor shortage has become stronger.
SMEA will continue to pay close attention to the progress in the recovery and reconstruction of affected areas and the impact of serious labor shortages on business conditions.
- From October to December 2018, the business conditions DI for all industries was -13.8 (up by 1.8 points from the previous quarter), having increased for the first time in three quarters.
- The business conditions DI for the manufacturing sector was -10.2 (up by 0.3 points from the previous quarter), having increased for the first time in two quarters. Looking at the business conditions DI of each industry, improvements were seen in eight industries, including the iron and steel and non-ferrous metals, electrical & information communication equipment and electronic parts, furniture and accessories, and textile industries, while the DIs for six industries decreased, including the pulp, paper and paper products, wood and wooden products and food industries.
- The business conditions DI for the non-manufacturing sector was -15.0 (up by 2.2 points from the previous quarter), having increased for the first time in three quarters. Looking at the business conditions DI of each industry, improvements were seen in the construction, retail trade, wholesale and service industries.
- The financing DI of all industries was -11.4 (up by 0.5 points from the previous quarter), having increased for the first time in two quarters, while the DI measuring long-term financing difficulty was -2.3 (up by 0.7 points from the previous quarter) and the DI measuring short-term financing difficulty was -0.3 (up by 0.6 points from the previous quarter), both of which increased for the first time in four quarters.
Division in Charge
Research Office, Policy Planning Division, Business Environment Department, Small and Medium Enterprise Agency