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Singapore’s Manufacturing Sector Optimistic about Business for Next Six Months

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by Jared Heng

Singapore’s manufacturing sector expects better business conditions in the next six months ending September 2012, compared with the first quarter of the year.

This was according to the Economic Development Board’s (EDB) Survey of Business Expectations of the Manufacturing Sector.

EDB said a net weighted balance of 15 per cent of manufacturers expects a more favourable business situation ahead, a turnaround from the 11 per cent of manufacturers that had expected deterioration in the preceding quarter.

Despite concerns over the global economic uncertainties, the positive business sentiment is broad-based with all manufacturing clusters projecting better business conditions.

Within the manufacturing cluster, the electronics cluster is the most upbeat. This optimistic outlook is led by the semiconductor segment. The general manufacturing cluster is the next most optimistic.

Regarding output forecast, a net weighted balance of 22 per cent of manufacturers expects output to increase in the second quarter of 2012, compared with the first.

The biomedical manufacturing cluster is the most upbeat, with a net weighted balance of 41 per cent of firms projecting a higher level of production in the second quarter, compared with the first.  Both the pharmaceutical and medical technology segments foresee higher output with improved demand.

The next most upbeat is the electronics cluster, in which the semiconductor, data storage and electronic modules and components segments anticipate higher levels of production in the next three months due to improved demand and expanded capacities.

Employment prospects are positive for the second quarter, with all manufacturing clusters expecting to hire workers.

In particular, the transport engineering and general manufacturing industries clusters are the most optimistic about employment opportunities in the three months ahead.

As for investment plans, a weighted 68 per cent of manufacturers plans to invest in plant and machinery in the next 12 months ‒ from April 2012 to March 2013.