Business

Data suggests more confidence in economic recovery

Singapore's economic recovery has been patchy, but recent data seems to suggest a growing optimism.

Companies in the services sector - which make up two-thirds of the economy - are shaking off a deep cloud of gloom and anticipating more favourable business conditions in this half of the year, according to a new survey.

Also, bank lending rose 7.6 per cent year-on-year in June to reach $635.5 billion, the fastest pace of growth in more than two years as both business and consumer loans went up.

Loans were higher for the ninth straight month, having notched year-on-year increases since October last year.

OCBC economist Selena Ling said bank lending should hold up over the rest of the year, given improved business sentiment.

"Moreover, while regional trade and economic activities may moderate in the second half after a stellar first half, regional manufacturing and services (numbers) do not suggest a sharp drop-off at this juncture," she noted.

The latest labour market data from the Ministry of Manpower also showed that the overall unemployment rate was unchanged at 2.2 per cent and layoffs declined, "which should provide some support to consumer appetite for big-ticket items", Ms Ling said. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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