79% of local firms worried about economy

A new poll shows Singapore's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are some of the gloomiest in the world.

It found that 79 per cent of senior executives at SMEs here "have concerns about the global economy", compared with a worldwide average of 65 per cent.

At the top of their concerns was the political situation in the US, which is worrying 31 per cent here, in line with that of SMEs around the world.

In a sign of Singapore's global exposure, 19 per cent cited slowing growth in China as a worry, and another 15 per cent fretted over a decline in international trade.

This was in contrast with worldwide sentiment, which pegged Brexit, UK's departure from the European Union, as well as wars, conflicts and terrorism, as key fears.

The outlook comes from a survey of management at 150 SMEs here in June and July, as well as businesses with fewer than 250 employees in another 10 countries and territories.

In all, more than 1,600 companies in sectors such as manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, construction and transport were interviewed via phone in a survey commissioned by global financial services firm Bibby Financial Services Group.

About 19 per cent of local companies thought the Singapore economy was faring badly and 34 per cent said it was doing well. - THE STRAITS TIMES