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More upbeat business sentiment in manufacturing sector for April-Sept: poll

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Business sentiment for Singapore's manufacturing sector is expected to be more positive for the period April to September, according to the Business Expectations Survey.

BUSINESS sentiment for Singapore's manufacturing sector is expected to be more positive for the period April to September, according to the Business Expectations Survey.

The survey was conducted by the Economic Development Board.

A weighted 13 per cent of manufacturers expects the business situation to improve while a weighted 8 per cent expects it to worsen. Overall, a net weighted balance of 5 per cent of manufacturers expects an improved business situation for the six-month period, compared to the first quarter of 2015.

The electronics sector emerged the most optimistic with a net weighted balance of 19 per cent of firms projecting improved business conditions in the next six months.

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Meanwhile, the transport engineering cluster is the least optimistic about business prospects. In particular, the marine and offshore engineering segment expects softer orders due to a slowdown in offshore exploration and drilling activities owing to low oil prices.

Where output is concerned, a net weighted balance of 9 per cent of manufacturers expects output to increase in Q2 2015 vis-a-vis Q1 2015. All clusters - except biomedical manufacturing - forecast higher levels of production.

This is because the pharmaceutical segment is projecting lower output due to a different product-mix in Q2 2015, compared to the prior quarter.

Meanwhile, a net weighted balance of one per cent of manufacturers plans to hire more workers in the period April-June 2015, compared to a quarter ago. The electronics cluster is the most bullish about hiring.

In addition, a weighted 70 per cent of manufacturers plans to invest in plant and machinery in the next 12 months ending March 2016, compared to the past 12 months before. Of this, a weighted 55 per cent of firms expects higher or similar levels of capital expenditure.

This will go towards replacing worn-out equipment, expanding production capacity of existing products and implementing new product technology.

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