Singapore factory bosses mostly humdrum about 6-month business outlook

The precision engineering cluster is the most optimistic, with a net weighted balance of 22 per cent of firms anticipating improved conditions.
The precision engineering cluster is the most optimistic, with a net weighted balance of 22 per cent of firms anticipating improved conditions.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Manufacturers feel pretty much the same way about business prospects now as they did three months ago, according to a quarterly survey out on Tuesday (Oct 31).

A weighted 14 per cent of factory bosses polled by the Economic Development Board (EDB) expect business conditions to improve over the next six months, compared with 12 per cent who said so in July.

A weighted 9 per cent of bosses think business will deteriorate. In July, 8 per cent predicted a slump.

Of the 429 manufacturers polled, 95 per cent responded and individual responses were weighted by their contribution to employment and value added, said the EDB.

It found that 77 per cent said they expect business in the next six months to continue at the same pace of three months earlier.

The precision engineering cluster is the most optimistic, with a net weighted balance of 22 per cent of firms anticipating improved conditions.

"This optimism is led by the machinery and systems segment, which foresees higher demand for semiconductor-related equipment, as well as measuring devices supporting the wireless communications and automotive industries in months ahead," said the EDB.

"On the other hand, a majority of firms (a weighted 74 per cent) in the precision modules and components segment expect little change in business conditions in the next six months".

The electronics cluster is the least optimistic, with a net weighted balance of 11 per cent of firms expecting operating conditions to worsen in the next six months.

On the employment outlook, a net weighted balance of 11 per cent of manufacturers plan to hire fewer workers this quarter, as compared with the last quarter.

Except for the chemicals and biomedical clusters, all other manufacturing clusters expect to hire fewer workers in this period.