Almost two-thirds of Singapore businesses see the local economy’s activities continuing at their current low pace for the next year, according to a survey by the Singapore Business Federation.

Some 66% of large companies and 61% of small and medium-sized firms expect “continued uncertainty” in the next 12 months, according to the figures. One-fifth of businesses anticipate a second wave of coronavirus infections that prompts another economic slump in the city-state, just 10% believe the worst is already over and 8% expect the availability of a vaccine to help the economy return to previous levels.

The federation received 225 responses from August 7-21 on what support the business community still needs as Singapore battles what’s set to be its worst recession on record.

Among the other findings:

  • 29% of small and medium enterprises expect to fold at least a segment of their business
  • Managing manpower is seen as businesses’ top challenge (63%), followed by uncertain demand (60%) and expected removal of government support (51%)
  • Cost relief and rental assistance are priority areas for further government support
  • 23% cited costs relating to foreign manpower as an additional “major cost” amid the pandemic
  • Almost two-thirds of all firms expect to maintain current headcount over the next 12 months, with 20% expecting reductions