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  Dataset contact e-mail
  Description The survey covers micro, small, medium-sized and large firms and it provides evidence on the financing conditions faced by SMEs compared with those of large firms during the past six months. In addition to a breakdown into firm size classes, it provides evidence across branches of economic activity, euro area countries, firm age, financial autonomy of the firms, and ownership of the firms.

Part of the survey is run by the ECB every six months to assess the latest developments of the financing conditions of firms in the euro area. The more comprehensive survey, run together with the European Commission, was initially conducted every two years, i.e. in 2009H1, 2011H1 and 2013H1. As from the wave 2014H1, the extended survey is run on the annual basis.

  Documentation Results, description of the survey and questionnaire
  Source agency European Central Bank and European Commission
  Catalog Download the series catalogue (complete list of series) of the dataset SAFE (Public) (including the metadata): Excel 2013 or the earlier Excel versions.
  ECB dataset naming convention

A series code is composed of up to 24 characters and contains the key family identifier (SAFE) plus 12 dimensions separated by a dot.

For example: SAFE.H.U2.SME.A.0.0.0.Q5.FTCR.N1.AL.WP

Position Dimension Length Example Description
1 Frequency 1 H Half-yearly
2 Reference area 2 U2 Euro area (changing composition)
3 Firm size 3 SME Micro, small and medium enterprises
4 Firm economic activity 1 A All sectors
5 Firm turnover 1 0 All turnover breakdowns included
6 Firm age 1 0 All ages included
7 Firm ownership 1 0 All types of ownership included
8 SAFE question up to 3 Q5 Q5. External financing - needs
9 SAFE question related Item up to 4 FTCR Trade credit
10 SAFE answer up to 3 N1 Increased, improved or will improve
11 SAFE filter - applicable answer 2 AL Including not applicable responses
12 SAFE answer 2 WP Weighted percentage of responses

A comprehensive description of the dimensions can be found in SAFE series keys definitions.

  Scope / Coverage of the data The sample was constructed to offer the same precision for micro (1 to 9 employees), small (10 to 49 employees) and medium-sized firms (50 to 249 employees). In addition, a sample of large firms (250 or more employees) was included in order to be able to compare developments for SMEs with those for large firms.
  Geographic coverage The sample sizes in the different countries were selected on the basis of a compromise between the costs of the survey at the euro area level and representativeness at the country level. Besides being representative at the euro area level, the sample is also representative for the four largest euro area countries, i.e. Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The sample size in the seven other euro area countries that are included in the survey every time (Belgium, Ireland, Greece, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland) was increased in the round covering the second half of 2010 to 500 enterprises in each country, enabling some significant results to be drawn for these countries. In the eleventh round, the sample size was further increased for the four largest euro area countries, as well as the Netherlands, Slovakia and Slovenia, to better reflect their share of employment in Europe. Comparisons for the small countries over time should be made with some caution as the sample has changed and may be less precise for the first three rounds of the survey. Additionally, the seven smallest countries in the euro area in terms of number of employees (Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia and Slovakia) were included in the sample only every two years until 2013H1 and since then every year (starting from 2009H1, Estonia from 2011H1, Latvia 2014H1).
  Sector coverage The sample sizes for each economic activity were selected to ensure sufficient representativeness across four major activities: industry, construction, trade and other services. The statistical stratification was based on economic activities at the one-digit level of the European NACE classification (presented here according to Rev. 2). Enterprises from mining and quarrying (B), manufacturing (C), and electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (D), and water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (E) were combined under “industry”. “Construction” is simply construction (F). “Trade” includes wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and personal and household goods (G). “Services” includes enterprises in transport and storage (H), accommodation and food service activities (I), information and communication (J), real estate activities (L), professional, scientific and technical activities (M), administrative and support service activities (N), arts, entertainment and recreation (R) and other service activities (S).

Agriculture, forestry and fishing (A), financial and insurance activities (K), public administration and defence; compulsory social security (O), education (P), human health and social work activities (Q), activities of households as employers; undifferentiated goods- and services-producing activities of households for own use (T), activities of extra-territorial organisations and bodies (U), holding companies (NACE 64.20) and private non-profit institutions were excluded from the sample.

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