June 22, 2020 / 12:08 PM / 20 days ago

Small, medium businesses feel brunt of lockdown pain: survey

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective mask stands next to a closed ice cream kiosk with a graffiti during lockdown, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Madrid, Spain April 5, 2020. Graffiti reads: "Europe needed a scare". REUTERS/Juan Medina/File Photo

GENEVA (Reuters) - Small and mid-sized businesses around the world are being hit hardest by the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns and about a fifth say they risk shutting down permanently within three months, a survey by the International Trade Centre (ITC) showed on Monday.

“The lockdown has led to major revenue drops for most and the survival of many is at stake,” the 176-page report released by the Geneva-based ITC, a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.

In its global business impact survey of thousands of companies in 132 countries between April and June, nearly two-thirds of micro and small firms said they were “strongly affected” by the impact of lockdowns versus 43 percent of large ones.

About 1/5 of small and medium firms (SMEs) said they risked shutting down permanently within three months, it showed.

The findings could implications for global employment since small businesses are the biggest employers.

“With the majority of global employment depending on the health of small and medium sized enterprises, the future of the global economy will very much depend on how SMEs manage to get through, and emerge from, the crisis,” it said.

Reporting by Emma Farge, Editing by William Maclean

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