Employers scale down hiring plans as customer demand dips

Foreign sales are softening.

Employment in the private sector fell slightly in May on back of softer demand conditions, according to the latest Nikkei Singapore PMI.

The report cited anecdotal evidence which suggested that lower staff numbers were generally due to companies choosing not to replace voluntary leavers.

"The data suggest that new business was again hindered by poor foreign demand, with export sales dropping solidly in the latest survey period," said Annabel Fiddes, economist at Markit, which compiles the survey.

Total new orders declined for the second successive month in May, mainly due to a lack of foreign sales.

A number of panellists commented on weaker foreign client demand, mentioning Europe and the US in particular.

“Sluggish growth, relatively subdued demand and weakening inflationary pressures all leave scope for further stimulus measures to help lift the sector, particularly to help offset the impact of a slowing global economy,” Fiddes said.

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