World Economy

Singapore Firms Hurt by Economic Climate

Singapore Firms Hurt by Economic ClimateSingapore Firms Hurt by Economic Climate

Just over half of the businesses in Singapore have said they are “adversely affected” by the current economic climate, according to the findings of the latest National Business Survey released by the Singapore Business Federation on Tuesday.

About 54% feel this way, which is a marked increase from the 35% from last year’s survey. The poll of more than 1,000 SBF members, conducted in the fourth quarter of 2015, found that just 4% of businesses are “very optimistic” about Singapore’s economic growth for the year, Yahoo reported.

Among the main challenges that businesses foresee in the next six to 12 months include high manpower cost (70% of all respondents), an uncertain economic environment (58%) and a slow growth in sales (55%).

As for what’s on top of their budget 2016 wish-list, they hope that this year’s budget will address business costs, training for PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians), financing, and help companies build capabilities.

SBF formally presented its new Position Paper to Finance Minister and Committee on the Future Economy chairman Heng Swee Keat. SBF chairman Teo Siong Seng hoped that the 32-page paper, which was made public last Wednesday, would provide useful inputs to the CFE’s work.

“Our paper makes several recommendations to the government. However, businesses must quickly grasp that they too, are responsible to themselves, their employees, customers, owners and the wider community for their performance, as no one owes us a living. The SBF Position Paper makes the case for businesses and government to work more collaboratively moving forward,” he said.

  China Slowdown

The slowdown in China will hit Singapore faster and harder than any country in the region, economists from Australian bank ANZ have warned. Other economists were not as dire in their prognoses, but agreed that the open nature of the local economy and the strong trade, investment and tourism links between the two nations mean that slower growth on the mainland will have a direct and broad-based impact on businesses and jobs here.

“Singapore’s economy has been on a structural shift–getting more dependent on China–over the last 10 to 20 years,” said DBS economist Irvin Seah. “It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone if Singapore is very badly affected.”