SINGAPORE businesses are slightly more optimistic about the next three months, the first uptick in sentiment in three quarters, according to the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB).
The SCCB's quarterly Business Optimism Index rose to positive 9 percentage points as at end-March from positive 1.11 percentage points three months earlier. Despite the upturn, current sentiment is still lower than every reading from end-March 2013 to end-September 2014.
On a year-on-year basis, sentiment for the coming April-to-June period is down 13.66 percentage points.
"With the exception of the financial and services sectors, the improvements in business optimism within the other sectors have been marginally visible," SCCB chief executive Audrey Chia said in a statement. "As companies have to contend with both external headwinds and the transitional frictions brought about by the restructuring of the domestic economy, we expect the outlook to remain cautiously optimistic in the coming months."
Expectations on sales volumes turned positive, at 15 percentage points, from negative 5.71 percentage points a quarter earlier. The outlook for net profit also returned to growth, at 23.57 percentage points from negative 5 percentage points quarter-to-quarter.
Sentiment on inventory levels fell to negative 3.57 percentage points from positive 1.43 percentage points three months ago.
Expectations on selling prices remained positive but lower, at 2.86 per cent from 4.29 per cent, as did employment, at 10 per cent from 12.14 per cent. Predictions of new orders remained contractionary, but less so, at negative 8.7 per cent from negative 9.52 per cent.