Singapore business leaders are now slightly less optimistic in their outlook on economic expansion, although they intend to invest more in new markets and technology.
This is according to the eighth annual American Express/CFO Research Global Business and Spending Monitor (GBSM), a survey of senior finance and corporate executives from companies with revenues exceeding US$500 million.
The report, titled "Selective spending in pursuit of growth," found that 70 per cent of business leaders in Singapore predict that the economy will continue growing over the next year. This is a 12-point decrease from the local growth expectations reported at the beginning of 2014, but is still close to this year's global average expectation of 71 per cent.
However, almost 90 per cent of the local respondents intend to increase spending this year, with almost half intending to increase spending by at least a 10 per cent.
The majority (70 per cent) cited entering new markets as the reason for increasing spending. This is linked to the finding that says 80 per cent of local respondents expect their sales to increase most in Asia (excluding the Indian subcontinent).
Correspondingly, two-thirds expect that exports will be an important contributor to their company's growth. More than half (52 per cent) expect their companies to expand activities in China, higher than the worldwide average of 39 per cent.
India, Indonesia and South Korea were named as the next most important emerging markets.
Also expressed was an interest in IT investment: business intelligence and data analysis, enterprise-level systems and cloud computing were named as the top three needs for technology expenditure.
Of the 565 respondents, 30 (5 per cent) are from Singapore.