Singapore SMEs Still Look to Expand in first half of 2019: SBF-DP SME Index

Outlook for 1Q19 -2Q19 (January to June)

Singapore SMEs continue to adopt a mildly optimistic outlook for the first six months of 2019 as general sentiments eased across all seven sectors.

The SBF-DP SME Index (the Index) decreased from 51.0 to 50.7 this quarter, indicating a slight dampening of sentiments among SMEs. This index is based on a survey of more than 3,600 SMEs during October and November 2018.

Despite the outlook, SMEs are looking at continued business expansion, likely due to the regional trade deals that look to open up cross-border business opportunities, albeit with softer turnover and profitability expectations.

The Index – a joint initiative of the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and DP Information Group (DP Info), part of Experian – measures the business sentiment of SMEs for the next six months (January to June 2019). The Index comprises inputs from SMEs on their expectations in seven key areas – Turnover, Profitability, Business Expansion, Capital Investment, Hiring, Capacity Utilisation and Access to Financing.

James Gothard, General Manager, Credit Services & Strategy SEA of Experian, said, “It is heartening to see that SMEs remain optimistic and are taking advantage of opportunities from Singapore’s extensive network of free trade agreements. SMEs are likely to look forward to supporting measures announced in Budget 2019 to overcome near-term challenges, as well as enable them to capture future opportunities.”

Ho Meng Kit, CEO, SBF added, “This survey was conducted at the height of US-China trade tensions, which likely impacted sentiments. It is good to see that the appetite for business expansion is still healthy.