Singapore's service sector revenue better in Q3 than Q2

Among all the categories, recreation and personal services recorded the largest drop of 41.3 per cent in revenue.
Among all the categories, recreation and personal services recorded the largest drop of 41.3 per cent in revenue.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Singapore's service sector reported a 9.5 per cent year-on-year drop in receipts in the third quarter of 2020, although receipts improved on a quarterly basis compared with Q2 - the Republic's circuit breaker period, according to the Singapore Department of Statistics (SingStat) on Friday.

Q3's performance is a smaller contraction than that seen during Q2's year-on-year decline of 13.4 per cent.

All industries except information and communications services registered lower business receipts on a year-on-year basis, said SingStat. The figure excludes wholesale and retail trade and accommodation and food services.

On a quarter-on-quarter non-seasonally adjusted basis, however, overall business receipts grew 5.4 per cent in Q3, compared with the low base of activities due to circuit breaker measures imposed during Singapore's partial economic shutdown in April and May.

All industries except financial and insurance reported higher revenue on a quarter-on-quarter basis, SingStat noted.

Recreation and personal services recorded the largest drop of 41.3 per cent in revenue, attributed mainly to the firms in the attractions segment, SingStat said. On a quarterly basis, however, this category surged 137 per cent compared to Q2, when most attractions and sports facilities were closed.

Transport and storage saw the next biggest decline in revenue at 21.6 per cent year on year, largely due to the disruption suffered by the air transport segment during the Covid-19 pandemic. But it saw a quarterly improvement of 3.6 per cent compared to Q2.

Business services took 14 per cent less revenue year on year, but on a quarterly basis, receipts rose 7.2 per cent. Firms in the professional services such as those providing legal services, business and management consultancy services and architectural and engineering services registered lower revenue due to weaker demand for their services, SingStat said.

Although health and social services reported a 1.8 per cent year-on-year drop in receipts, revenue jumped 15.8 per cent quarter on quarter, with hospitals resuming non-urgent elective surgeries in Q3.

Information and communications services appear to be the brightest spot, registering growth both on a yearly and quarterly basis. Revenue rose 3.5 per cent year on year and 5.6 per cent quarter on quarter. This is mainly because software publishers and firms engaged in information service activities such as web hosting and web portal services saw a rise in demand for their services, SingStat said.