Local business confidence 
takes a dive

Local business confidence has taken a turn for the worse, falling to the second lowest point in four years, according to a survey released yesterday.

The Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau's (SCCB) latest quarterly Business Optimism Index study shows the level of confidence slipped from +2.87 percentage points for the fourth quarter of 2016 to -1.22 percentage points for the first three months of next year.

On a year-on-year basis, the index improved but stayed in the contractionary zone from -2.93 percentage points for Q1 2016 to -1.22 percentage points for Q1 2017.

The wholesale trade and financial services sectors emerged as the most pessimistic for next year.

The services sector was the most optimistic with six business indicators in the expansionary zone due to an increase in tourist arrivals, improvements in the food and accommodation, information and communications and social services sub-sectors.

However, SCCB also noted a slight moderation in three of six indicators for Q1 2017.

Compared to 2016, there is a slight increase in firms which have anticipated a reduction in investments for business expansion in 2017.

The proportion of firms that expected a decrease in investments for business expansion has risen from 4 per cent in 2016 to 9 per cent in 2017.

The proportion of firms expecting investments to increase stayed at 6 per cent for 2017. - THE STRAITS TIMES