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Business sentiments in Singapore and Asia improve for Q1
BUSINESS sentiments in Singapore turned neutral for the first quarter of 2016 after two "deeply-pessimistic quarters" on better-than-expected fourth-quarter growth figures and expectations that trade could grow at slower pace than estimated, based on a recent survey.
Singapore saw biggest jump in sentiment at 50 versus 21 against a bigger backdrop of rising optimism across businesses in Asia over the period, buoyed by expectations of an economic improvement in the world's second largest economy China, according to the Thomson Reuters/Insead Asian Business Sentiment Survey.
The survey covers business sentiments by geography and sectors in the Asian region in which 97 firms rated their six-month outlook, resulting in a business sentiment index of 65 for March 2016 from 58 in December 2015, reported Reuters. A reading over 50 indicates a positive view.
Risks persist with firms in Singapore flagging tighter bank credit as a top risk as well as declining Chinese demand and excessive currency volatility. These and falling oil prices were deemed as primary risks by companies in Asia to their business outlook.
Yet, according to the Reuters report, readings across the region revealed the biggest increase in confidence among firms in China itself and its chief trading partners such as Singapore.
"The index is not an amazingly great number but it tells us there is certainly less pessimism now than in previous surveys," said Singapore-based economics professor Antonio Fatas at global business school Insead.