Singapore private sector off to a good start in 2016 with better business conditions: Nikkei PMI

A big screen displays information on the stock index at the Raffles Place financial district on Jan 11, 2016.
A big screen displays information on the stock index at the Raffles Place financial district on Jan 11, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Singapore's private sector enjoyed greater improvement in overall business conditions at the start of 2016, a survey from Nikkei and Markit Economics showed on Wednesday (Feb 3).

The headline Nikkei purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the private sector rose to 52.5 in January, from 52.1 in December.

Any reading above 50.0 signals expansion.

The Nikkei Singapore PMI is based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to executives in more than 400 private sector companies, selected to represent the structure of Singapore's economy, including manufacturing, services, construction and retail.

Its reading contrasts with that of the PMI for the manufacturing sector alone, released a day earlier, which showed that factory activity in Singapore contracted for a seventh straight month.

The Nikkei PMI data showed output in January continued to increase at a robust pace, but the rate of growth was the slowest in three months.

"New work rose marginally, despite the quickest rise in new export business since the series began in mid-2012," said the report.

Staff numbers also expanded slightly as purchasing activity increased at the fastest rate in nearly 18 months.

The report added: "Price pressures appeared relatively subdued, with overall cost burdens and output charges both rising at modest rates."

rachaelb@sph.com.sg