Business sentiment for 4Q2021 has improved among local firms, a survey released by the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB) on Sep 14 points out.

SCCB is a subsidiary of Credit Bureau Asia (CBA), a credit and risk information solutions provider in Southeast Asia.

The survey – which captures the Business Optimism Index (BOI) – noted that business optimism here has inched up marginally to +5.78 percentage points for 4Q2021, compared to +4.07 percentage points in 3Q2021.

The BOI has also shown an improvement from the -4.97 percentage points logged in 4Q2020.

The BOI, which is released quarterly, is a measure of business confidence in the economy. The index captures the responses of some 200 business owners and senior executives and tracks their confidence in the economy.

Interestingly, four of six indicators in the latest survey performed better than in 3Q2021. 

See also: Business sentiment remains cautiously optimistic for 3Q2021: SCCB

These include a jump in net profit to hit +9.63 percentage points in 4Q2021 (compared to +7.63 percentage points in 3Q2021). Other segments that saw improvements were new orders (+10.69 percentage points), employment (+12.12 percentage points, and inventory levels (- 5.35 percentage points).

Conversely, q-o-q declines were seen in the optimism levels in volume of sales (+7.52 percentage points) and selling prices (0 percentage points).

On a y-o-y basis, all six indicators improved. Sharp turnarounds were seen in the optimism levels for net profits, selling price and employment.

Sentiment in the financial and manufacturing sectors remained upbeat with all six indicators remaining in positive territory. Sentiments in the wholesale sector too are seemingly positive with five of the six indicators in the green.

Meanwhile, the outlook for the services and construction sectors also showed improvement respectively with four and three of the six indicators coming in the positive region.

Sentiments in the transportation sector however remained weak with five of the six indicators being in the contractionary territory.

Touching on the survey responses, Audrey Chia, CEO of SCCB notes that “the increased optimism for 4Q2021 is due largely to a relatively resilient demand in manufacturing and the financial services sectors”.

However, she cautions that “significant downside risks still remain as the local economy still remains exposed to the lingering uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic both domestically and globally”

“The recent regulatory developments in China and geopolitical uncertainties have also weighed on the overall sentiments,” adds Chia.

Cover image: file photo