man-thinking

less optimistic in Q1 2013According to the latest Business Optimism Index (BOI) survey released by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), Singapore’s entrepreneurs and key executives are not optimistic about Q1 2013’s business outlook.

This sentiment was conveyed through the measurement of the Index’s six indicators, namely 1) volume of sales, 2) net profits, 3) selling prices, 4) new orders in the manufacturing sector, 5) marginal growth in inventory levels and 6) employment. The Index has been conducted on a quarterly basis since July 2009 to understand what key decision makers feel about the economy and where they think it is heading.

This quarter, D&B found that sentiments on half of these indicators have contracted significantly vis-à-vis Q4 2012. For example, the sentiment for volume of sales and net profits have dropped to -5.1 (from +10) and to -1.6 (from +9.3) percentage points (ppts) respectively. In addition, the sentiment for inventory levels has contracted from +7.9 to -4.9 ppts.

  On the upside, these sentiments indicate where key decision makers could pivot their strategies for the coming months. It also serves as intel to policymakers which industries need the most support and where.

We anticipate that Singapore companies will stay cautious about their growth prospects but will continue to make the necessary efforts to tide through the uncertain months ahead.”

Other parameters remained optimistic albeit non-stellar. In Q1 2013, sentiments for selling prices was unchanged at +1.6 ppts. However, sentiments for new orders weakened from +50 to +0 ppts while employment expectations eased from +10.9 to +5.8 ppts.

Furthermore, the sentiment varied across industries. For example, manufacturing sector showed to be least optimistic about net profits (-50 ppts), sales volumes (-50 ppts), inventory levels (-62.5 ppts) and selling prices (-25 ppts) vis-a-vis Q4 2012.

The outlook in the mining and financial sectors were rosier.The former anticipated healthier net profits (+37.5 ppts), inventory levels (+12.5 ppts) and sales volume (+37.5 ppts). The latter expressed optimism for employment (+16.7 ppts) as well as selling prices (+16.7 ppts), setting a high among industries.

Analysis by Singapore company registration specialist Rikvin shows that such sentiments are not necessarily negative and instead serve as a dipstick for policymakers to see which industries require support.

Commenting further, Ms. Chris Lim, General Manager at Rikvin said, “As the country undergoes economic restructuring, and against the backdrop of slower demand and geopolitical uncertainties in the US, Japan and Eurozone, the sentiments reflected in the Index appear to be valid and sound. In addition, the modest domestic growth forecast for the coming year vis-à-vis the previous year’s growth indicate that growth, if any, would be gradual in the coming months.”

“On the upside, these sentiments indicate where key decision makers could pivot their strategies for the coming months. It also serves as intel to policymakers which industries need the most support and where. We anticipate that Singapore companies will stay cautious about their growth prospects but will continue to make the necessary efforts to tide through the uncertain months ahead.”

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