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No change in business for 1st half of 2014, say firms in services sector

The majority of firms in the services sector expect the business situation to remain unchanged in the first six months of this year, compared with the second half of 2013.

SINGAPORE: The majority of firms in the services sector expect the business situation to remain unchanged in the first six months of this year, compared with the second half of 2013.

According to a survey by the Department of Statistics Singapore (DOS), a weighted 15 per cent of firms expect business to improve, while 14 per cent of them projects business conditions to worsen.

Firms in the computer programming and consultancy activities, as well as healthcare services providers, are particularly upbeat about business prospects.

The survey found that the food and beverage services industry is the least optimistic, recording a negative net weighted balance of 29 per cent.

Firms in the real estate industry also anticipate slower business in the coming month as government measures like the Total Debt Servicing Ratio framework continue to bite.

Meanwhile, the services sector expects operating receipts and employment to remain at similar level in the first quarter of 2014, over Q4 of 2013.

DOS said industries which are more optimistic in their revenue outlook in Q1 2014 include financial and insurance services and recreation, community and personal services.

However, firms in the food and beverage services and accommodation industries expect business to be less brisk.

Firms in the transport and storage services industry, particularly shipping lines, are also less optimistic about revenue outlook for the first three months of 2014.

In terms of employment, firms in the financial and insurance services industry are most upbeat, while the food and beverage services industry expect a decrease in hiring activity in a tight labour market.

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