Business sentiment for next quarter picks up, says survey

Business confidence for the first quarter of next year has risen a touch, but it remains in the contractionary zone, noted a survey yesterday.

The poll measures business confidence by tracking six parameters: sales volume, net profit, selling price, new orders, inventory levels and employee count.

The financial, manufacturing and services sectors saw visible improvements in sentiment, while the outlook in the construction and transport sectors remained downbeat, noted the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB), which carried out the study.

The financial sector was relatively upbeat, with all six indicators in positive territory.

Manufacturing also remained relatively optimistic, with four out of six indicators in the positive zone. Indicators such as volume of sales and net profit saw decreases.

The service sector was moderately upbeat, with half of the six indicators in positive territory. Indicators such as sales volume and net profit saw slight drops, while employment levels dipped.

The construction sector was the most pessimistic sector, with all six indicators in the contractionary zone.

However, visible improvements were seen in half of the indicators – volume of sales, net profit and employment levels.

Sentiment in the transport sector remained weak, with four out of six indicators in the negative zone.

SCCB chief executive Audrey Chia said: “While there is a slight upturn in business sentiments for the first quarter of 2021, the overall economy is not entirely out of the woods yet.”

The SCCB expects sentiment to remain volatile for the first six months of next year, she added.


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