SENTIMENT among Singapore small and medium enterprises (SMEs) has inched up for the first time in seven consecutive quarters, according to the latest SBF-DP SME Index.
The overall index score rose by 1.9 points to 51.9. This comes after the index hit an all-time low of 50.0 in the last quarter, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and DP Information Group jointly announced on Thursday.
A score of 51.9 indicates SMEs are "marginally optimistic" about their growth prospects in the second half of the year and expect improvements in both their turnover and profits in the next six months, said SBF and DP.
The business services sector emerged as the most optimistic group of SMEs with an index score of 52.4, up one point from last quarter, while the transport and storage sector recorded the biggest improvement in sentiment with its overall index score increasing from 50.8 to 51.9.
Turnover and profitability expectations rose across all six industry sectors, which also include commerce and trading; construction and engineering; manufacturing; as well as retail and F&B.
The latest SBF-DP SME Index measures the business sentiment of SMEs for the next six months (Q3 and Q4 of 2016), for which over 3,600 SMEs were surveyed between April and May 2016 on their outlook and sentiment.