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17% of Singapore services firms expect slower business for January-June

THE MAJORITY of firms (70 per cent) in the Singapore services sector predict that business conditions will remain the same for January to June 2015, while 17 per cent of them foresee slower business, the latest quarterly Business Expectations Survey by the Singapore Department of Statistics (SingStat) showed on Friday.

Only a weighted 13 per cent of them expect better business prospects for the January-June period, the report showed.

Compared to July-December 2014, a weighted balance of 4 per cent of firms in the Singapore services sector expects less favourable business conditions for the period of January-June 2015.

This is due partly to the seasonal effect, said SingStat, where firms in the services sector are generally less optimistic in their business outlook for the first half of the year when compared with the second half of the preceding year, which coincided with the year-end holidays and festive period.

Comparing the same period in the previous two years, the net weighted balance was +1 per cent for January-June 2014 and -5 per cent for January-June 2013.

Within the services sector, the accommodation, food & beverage (F&B) and transport & storage services industries expect less business activity for January-June 2015 compared to July-December 2014, after experiencing brisk business during the year-end holidays.

Overall, the services sector expects operating receipts to remain at a similar level for the first quarter of 2015 compared to the preceding quarter, recording a net weighted balance of -1 per cent.

Within the services sector, the financial & insurance services industry is the most optimistic about operating receipts. A net weighted balance of 34 per cent of firms expects revenue to increase for the first quarter of 2015.

Notably, banks and financial companies foresee that the global economy will gradually improve in the first half of 2015.