Business confidence among local firms 'flat for Q3'

Business sentiment among local firms remains muted despite inching upwards slightly for the third quarter of this year.

According to the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau's (SCCB's) latest quarterly Business Optimism Index (BOI), released yesterday, confidence was stuck in the near contractionary zone for the fourth consecutive quarter.

The index edged upwards from +0.89 percentage point in the previous quarter to +1.11 percentage points for the third quarter.

On a year-on-year basis, sentiment was sharply down, falling from +14.60 percentage points for the third quarter of last year to +1.11 percentage points.

Overall business confidence remains flat despite the marginal uptick, according to the credit bureau. For the third quarter of this year, only two out of six indicators are expansionary.

The construction sector emerged as the most optimistic sector with four indicators in the expansionary region, while the manufacturing sector was downbeat with three out of six business indicators in the contractionary region.

The services sector did not escape the doldrums as confidence fell with consumer retail activities expected to remain weak.

According to the SCCB, three out of six business indicators went into the contractionary region for the third quarter of this year.

Released quarterly, the BOI is based on a survey designed to capture business expectations, and is one of the most effective ways to track how the business community perceives the business environment, and where it thinks it is moving, said the SCCB.

The index tracks business parameters including net profits, selling prices, new orders and inventory levels.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2016, with the headline 'Business confidence among local firms 'flat for Q3''. Print Edition | Subscribe