Apr 01, 2014

    Bosses tip Q2 to be better than first quarter

    BOSSES are a bit more optimistic about their prospects in this quarter than they were in the first three months of the year, according to a new survey.

    It found that 85.3 per cent of the 200 businesses polled are upbeat about the months ahead, compared with 71 per cent in the first quarter.

    The survey - conducted by the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB) - is used to compile the Business Optimism Index, a measure commonly used worldwide to analyse major business trends and issues.

    It pointed to a general increase in positive sentiment here.

    Firms indicated that they will increase hiring this quarter, compared to that of the previous three months, while expectations are higher that net profit and sales volumes - and sale prices - will increase.

    The transport and financial services segments recorded the biggest increases in optimism levels.

    CIMB economist Song Seng Wun said the renewed optimism could be a result of a traditionally weak first quarter.

    "Normally, (that quarter) tends to be more quiet after a strong year-end for businesses," he said, adding that factors overseas may be playing a part as well.

    "The (United States) economy, as well as Japan's, were hit by the bad weather in the first quarter, which could have affected local businesses as well," Mr Song added.

    SCCB chief executive Audrey Chia said in a statement yesterday that firms across most industries see better prospects in this quarter as growth momentum in the economy improves.

    "The recent measures announced in Budget 2014 to improve productivity, drive innovation and skill development may have also contributed to the improved outlook," she added.

    "Firms would have recognised how important the enhancements made to the Productivity and Innovation Credit, and research and development schemes are in helping them cope with rising business costs as well as ensuring sustainable growth in the long term."