ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Local SMEs’ economic confidence crashes 13% in 2016: survey

But 5 in 10 respondents still see their own firms growing.

Singapore SMEs are downbeat about the local economy, as as CPA Australia’s Asia Pacific Small Business Survey revealed that economic confidence has taken a 13% nosedive in 2016. It doesn’t seem to be fazing local small businesses, though, as their growth continue to be on the uptrend.

More than 5 in 10 (59%) respondents said they grew over the past 12 months, reflecting an 8% climb from 2014’s survey, said CPA Australia chief executive Alex Malley. He further noted that despite a slide in economic confidence from last year’s survey, 57% of Singapore’s small business expect their own business to grow in the next 12 months.

Moreover fewer SMEs sought external finance or added employee numbers in 2015, which Malley characterized as “an entirely appropriate response” to Singapore’s current economic landscape. These management practices mean that Singapore SMEs are in prime positions to ride out the tempestuous international markets, and take advantage of future enhancements in the global economy.

“There remains a need to be more innovative. The survey results shows that only 15 per cent of respondents definitely expect to innovate through the introduction of a new product, service or process unique to Singapore or the world, compared with the survey average of 22 per cent,” said Malley.

Looking ahead, the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community combined, government support for innovation, and Singapore’s business-friendliness all suggest that SMEs in Singapore are facing a positive 2016 despite what could be a volatile year in global economy.

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