Sep 30, 2014

    Q4 business confidence here drops

    BUSINESS confidence in Singapore for the final quarter of this year has slipped further to a one-year low, weighed down by sputtering global economic growth on the back of geopolitical uncertainties, according to a recent survey.

    The Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau's (SCCB's) latest quarterly study on business confidence revealed that the overall Business Optimism Index (BOI) score lost more ground for the second consecutive quarter from +14.65 percentage points to +10.79 percentage points in the final quarter.

    This also marks the lowest score registered in a year since the third quarter of last year. Compared with a year ago, the overall BOI score plummeted sharply from +33.98 percentage points in the same quarter last year.

    "Recent market volatilities and political instability in various parts of the world have weighed on the sentiments of local firms with sizeable global and regional footprints," said Audrey Chia, chief executive of SCCB.

    "Meanwhile, we have the domestically-oriented small- and medium-sized enterprises and small business owners who continue to contend with rising cost pressures and manpower issues."

    Businesses here were less optimistic about all six key indicators used by the credit bureau to measure confidence in the economy - sales volume, net profit, selling prices, new orders, inventory and hiring - compared with a year ago.

    Notably, volume of sales, net profits and inventory levels saw the sharpest falls in the BOI score.

    On a quarterly basis, sentiments also appear to have been hit, as the previous quarter saw only a decline in optimism in two of the six business indicators from a year ago.

    However, Ms Chia said the situation was not all bleak. While growth in certain sectors such as services and manufacturing remained subdued, optimism levels in the financial and wholesale trade sectors have made marked improvements.

    "This is likely attributed to the strong performance of the financial intermediation cluster and a turnaround in regional trade flows," she added.