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Business sentiment among SMEs dips for third consecutive quarter

Singapore Business Federation (SBF) chief executive Ho Meng Kit speaking to Singapore media where he is attending the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) at the Ayana Resort and Spa in Jimbaran, Bali.

BUSINESS outlook among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore has moderated further for a third consecutive quarter, according to the latest SBF-DP SME Index.

The overall index score for the second half of 2015 fell from 54.0 to 53.5, its lowest level since the start of 2013, said the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and DP Information Group (DP Info) in a statement on Tuesday.

Four of the six industries featured in the Index - commerce/trading, manufacturing, retail/food and beverages, and transport/storage - were found to be less optimistic than they were three months ago, while business services companies recorded an unchanged outlook with a 54.4 index score, the highest overall score among the six industries.

The construction sector, however, bucked the trend with a slight increase in its index score from 53.6 to 54.

Said SBF and DP Info: "The construction sector is benefiting from infrastructure spending as well as the push to raise skill levels. There has also been an increase in public construction activity."

The latest Index, a joint initiative of SBF and DP Info, polled some 3,600 SMEs for their business sentiment for the next six months.

Said Ho Meng Kit, chief executive officer of SBF: "There has been a steady decline in business sentiments of our SMEs over the last three quarters, though this drop in sentiment is not alarming. It reflects the uncertainty in the global economy and the tough business environment locally."