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Singapore’s business optimism dips in third quarter

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Singaporean companies aren’t too confident about the third quarter of this year, as the country’s optimism index slips 8% to 14.65% quarter-on-quarter.

The Business Optimism Index (BOI) by the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB) found hiring sentiments have also dropped 3% in Q3 2014, a likely result of the government’s efforts to tighten foreign labour inflow, and a slowdown in job creation this year.

However, the report found the most optimistic sectors were services and construction, with at least five our of six business indicators set to expand.

The six business indicators the report tracks are volume of sales, net profit, selling price, new orders, inventory, and employment.

Across all sectors, employment levels are expected to increase 10% this quarter, lower than the 13.14% reported in Q2 2014.

The sectors which were more optimistic in terms of employment were construction (26.27%) and wholesale (21.43%). On the other hand, mining (0%), agriculture (0%), transportation (-5%) and finance (-6.67%) reported the lowest employment optimism scores.

“Overall business confidence has held its ground despite the lukewarm reading for the third quarter of 2014. While dips in business sentiments are noticeable, modest growth still remains within sight for the local economy in the months ahead,” Audrey Chia, SCCB’s CEO, said.

“Recent reports of a contractionary shock in the US economy may have dampened business sentiments here slightly. However, the overall BOI reading remains healthy and reflects positively on the resilience of SMEs against external risks and uncertainties.”

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