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Singapore services sector turns bearish on six-month outlook

The Singapore skyline as seen from Swissotel the Stamford at dusk on 16 Sept, 2013.

FIRMS in Singapore's services sector have turned bearish about their short-term business prospects, according to a poll by the Department of Statistics (DOS) released on Friday.

Of the 1,500 services firms polled on their business expectations for the next six months, a weighted 21 per cent of firms foresee a reduction in business activities, while a weighted 15 per cent anticipate a favourable business outlook. The rest expect no change.

This translates into a negative net weighted balance of 6 per cent, in contrast to a positive net weighted balance of 2 per cent a quarter ago.

The net weighted balance - the difference between the proportion of optimistic and pessimistic firms - is a widely-used measure of the nature and extent of business sentiment. Firms were polled between September and mid-October.

DOS said that business sentiments were mixed within the sector.

"The accommodation, food & beverage services and retail trade industries were among those which foresee favourable business conditions for Oct 2015-Mar 2016 compared to Apr-Sep 2015," said DOS.

"On the other hand, industries such as real estate, wholesale trade and transport & storage services are less optimistic in their outlook."