Business confidence in Singapore dives


Business confidence in Singapore has slumped to its lowest level since the end of 2004, according to a survey Monday.

While sales and profit figures were largely unchanged in the last three months of 2007, prospects have fallen sharply for the next six months, The Business Times and SIM University poll revealed.

The survey showed that the business prospects net balance – or difference between the percentage of optimistic and pessimistic companies – fell to 20 per cent from 39 per cent.

“The firms may be overly pessimistic because of the grim prospects in the US economy, accompanying volatile and weak stock markets and rising oil prices,” said Chow Kit Boey, director of the quarterly survey of 128 companies.

Some 71 per cent of the firms have overseas business.

Large and local firms accounted for the most severe drops. Foreign firms however were much more upbeat.

The foreign companies recorded the best performances for the three months, with the largest increases in net balances for sales, profit and orders. Local firms saw the biggest declines.

Vietnam is speedily becoming a favoured investment destination, the survey said. China and India are the other frontrunners.

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