Singapore business confidence improves for 2nd straight quarter despite downside risks

Pedestrians cross a road in the central business district of Singapore.
Pedestrians cross a road in the central business district of Singapore.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Business confidence in Singapore improved for the second consecutive quarter despite downside risks, the a quarterly survey found.

According to Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB)'s latest Business Optimism Index (BOI), the level of optimism jumped to 3.58 percentage points for the third quarter of this year from 2.66 percentage points for the second quarter. On a year-on-year basis, BOI rose to 3.58 percentage points from 1.11 percentage points for the third quarter of 2016.

The transportation sector emerged as the most optimistic sector with all six business indicators - volume of sales, net profit, selling price, new orders, inventory and employment - in the expansionary zone.

The financial sector was the least optimistic sector with none of the indicators in positive territory. Sentiments within the construction sector remained muted with only two indicators rising.

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Source: SCCB

"The outlook among the business community has stayed relatively resilient despite the downside risks in the global economy, said Ms Audrey Chia, SCCB's chief executive officer. "The improvements were supported mainly by the rise in optimism within the transportation and manufacturing sectors. However, we are expecting sentiments to remain lukewarm in the coming months given the pockets of weakness in both construction and financial sectors which have offset the improvements made."

She added: "While sound economic fundamentals of our local economy could act as a floor under prevailing global uncertainties, businesses should brace themselves for the challenges brought about by the economic restructuring and proactively create new revenue streams and invest in the upskilling of employees to remain relevant in the long-term."