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SINGAPORE'S private sector continued to see improving business conditions in January to report its most optimistic outlook in almost a year.
The latest Nikkei Singapore Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), released on Wednesday morning, shows that the index was at 52.5 in January, up 0.4 from December.
Readings above 50 signal an improvement in business conditions on the previous month, while readings below 50 indicate a worsening.
This makes it the highest reading in 11 months, or the eighth straight month of improvement.
A marked rise in exports, increased outputs, increase in staff numbers, and muted cost pressures were cited as the reasons behind the better conditions.
January's reading "signalled a further improvement in the health of Singapore's private sector", said Markit, the financial-information services provider that compiled the data.
The Nikkei Singapore PMI is an economy-wide indicator of activity, with each sector weighted for its contribution to gross domestic product. Sectors reflected include manufacturing, services, construction, transportation and storage, and retail.
Wednesday's data stands in contrast to a manufacturing sector PMI that was released on Tuesday by the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM).
The SIPMM index went down by 0.5 to reach 49.0 last month, making it the seventh month of contraction.