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Singapore manufacturers "more positive" about business conditions

Singapore manufacturers are more positive about business conditions over the next six months, according to the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). This is mainly due to improved economic conditions in the US and Europe.

SINGAPORE: Singapore manufacturers are more positive about business conditions over the next six months, according to the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). This is mainly due to improved economic conditions in the US and Europe.

A weighted 11 per cent of manufacturers expect business conditions to improve while a weighted seven per cent foresees deterioration.

This results in a net weighted balance of four per cent of manufacturers expecting a more favourable business situation in the next six months ending June 2014 as compared with the fourth quarter of 2013.

According to the Survey of Business Expectations of the Manufacturing Sector, all except the electronics cluster project better business conditions for the period January to June this year.

The biomedical manufacturing cluster is the most optimistic, with a net weighted balance of 19 per cent of firms expecting an improved business situation.

The pharmaceutical segment is anticipating higher orders from the US and Europe while the medical technology segment is planning to launch new medical devices in the months ahead.

The precision engineering cluster is the next most optimistic with a net weighted balance of eight per cent of firms anticipating better business prospects in the first half of 2014.

But the electronics cluster is the least upbeat about business conditions in the first half of 2014 compared to a quarter ago. Overall, a net weighted balance of five per cent of electronics firms project a less favourable business situation. This weak sentiment is led by the infocomms & consumer electronics and data storage segments, as demand for personal computers and disk drives remain lacklustre.

Meanwhile, employment prospects in the sector are expected to remain positive for the first quarter of 2014, with a net weighted 94 per cent of manufacturers expecting employment to increase or remain similar. Among the clusters, only the electronics and precision engineering clusters expect to reduce hiring in the next three months. 

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