S'pore firms upbeat even as Q4 outlook dips

Business sentiments among local companies remained upbeat despite the outlook easing for the final quarter of this year, according to the latest survey by the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB) yesterday.

Its Business Optimism Index (BOI) dropped to +2.6 percentage points for the final three months of this year, down from +3.58 percentage points for the previous quarter.

On a year-on-year basis, the BOI is lower compared with the +2.87 percentage points for the fourth quarter of last year.

The manufacturing, service and wholesale sectors emerged as the most optimistic sectors with four indicators in the expansionary region. But construction firms remained pessimistic, owing to prolonged deterioration in both private- and public-sector building activities. The transport sector, meanwhile, was mildly upbeat, mainly due to growth within the water transport segment.

"Although business sentiments have dipped slightly for Q4 2017, strong sequential growth in the manufacturing segment and a recovery of export markets around the region have led businesses to maintain positive for the final quarter of 2017," said SCCB chief executive officer Audrey Chia.

"We expect that the overall outlook will remain stable for the rest of 2017, given that Singapore's economy will continue to be supported by robust public finances and the Government's fiscal buffers to further diversify the country's economic base and keep negative shocks at bay in the near term," she added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore firms upbeat even as Q4 outlook dips'. Print Edition | Subscribe