Manufacturing, services firms slightly more upbeat about outlook

SINGAPORE - Companies in both the manufacturing and services sectors have become slightly more optimistic about the outlook in the next six months, according to two surveys published on Wednesday.

Some 12 per cent of manufacturing firms expect the outlook to improve in April to September from January to March, up from 11 per cent in a similar survey conducted three months ago.

Similarly, just 5 per cent anticipate a deterioration, down from 7 per cent three months ago, said the Economic Development Board.

Among the most optimistic firms are those in precision engineering and general manufacturing, it added.

For services firms, 15 per cent are tipping better prospects in April to September from the preceding six months, the same proportion as in January's survey.

But only 10 per cent said they are gloomy on the outlook for the next six months, compared with 14 per cent in January's survey, according to the Singapore Department of Statistics.

Companies in the transport and storage, finance and insurance and information and communications services segments are the most upbeat, the Statistics Department said.

In particular, the improvement in the global economy is expected to benefit shipping lines and banks and finance companies.

However, real estate firms continue to expect slower business as the government cooling measures for the property market remain a drag on sentiment.