Singapore private sector posts improvement in operating conditions in March

BUSINESS conditions in Singapore further improved in March, as stronger domestic demand boosted new order growth to its fastest pace in a year.

New export orders, however, fell slightly for the first time in five months.

The latest Nikkei Singapore Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), released on Tuesday, shows that the index was at 52 last month, up from 51.6 in February.

Readings above 50 signal an improvement in business conditions on the previous month, while readings below 50 indicate a deterioration.

Despite the uptick, the rate of improvement remained modest overall, said Nikkei.

Noting that the growth in total new work was let down by a drop in new export orders, Markit economist Annabel Fiddes said that firms also appeared to be relatively cautious in their business outlook, with employment and purchasing activity falling slightly in March.

"With overall growth of the sector remaining relatively lacklustre, it will be interesting to see if the recently announced budget will help to boost demand and growth momentum in the second quarter," said Ms Fiddes.

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