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Local companies not losing competitive edge: Lim Hng Kiang

Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang says there are other sectors that show positive growth in the first half of this year. 

SINGAPORE: Local companies are not losing their competitiveness despite recent weakness seen in key economic data such as non-oil domestic exports (NODX).

In a written response to a parliamentary question by Nominated Member of Parliament Teo Siong Seng, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang says there are other sectors that show positive growth in the first half of this year. These include sectors like precision engineering and general manufacturing activities such as furniture manufacturing.

Mr Teo had asked if local enterprises are challenged by a loss of competitiveness after key data such as NODX had shown a decline in June. Mr Lim said the declines in NODX in June as well as tourist spending on shopping and food service in the first quarter this year, are due to "external factors."

He said Indonesian visitors, who are one of Singapore's top spenders, had contributed to the bulk of the decline in shopping expenditure.

"This was likely due to their weaker purchasing power as a result of the depreciation of the rupiah against major currencies, including the Singapore dollar," adds Mr Lim

Still, Mr Lim said the Government recognises that tighter labour constraints and rising business costs may have adversely affected some local companies.

"The key to companies coping with higher costs, without affecting their competitiveness, is to raise their productivity," said Mr Lim.

He encourages more companies to step forward to tap on the various productivity schemes that the Government has in place.  

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