ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Nearly two in five precision engineering firms bullish for H1

Whilst only 13% of the whole manufacturing industry is positive about business.

Nearly two in five -- or 36% -- precision engineering firms are bullish for business in the first half of 2018, leading the optimism in the manufacturing sector, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) revealed.

According to its business expectations survey, the positive sentiment is largely led by the machinery & systems segment, which foresees continued strong demand for semiconductor-related equipment in the next six months. Additionally, the precision modules & components segment expects positive business prospects to be supported by increased orders for bonding wires and optical instruments.

Meanwhile, only 13% of the broader manufacturing industry is optimistic about business. About 75% do not expect changes, whilst 12% foresee a deteriorating business.

In the transport engineering cluster, a net weighted balance of 5% of firms are "cautiously optimistic." The marine & offshore segment anticipated slightly better conditions as crude oil prices modestly tick up. Majority of aerospace and land firms project similar business conditions.

On the other hand, the general manufacturing industries and electronics clusters are the least optimistic, with a net weighted balance of 10% of firms in each cluster expecting a less favourable operating environment in the first half of 2018.

In terms of output, 10% projected an increase in the first quarter of 2018. The biomedical manufacturing, pharmaceutical, medtech, precision engineering, and chemical clusters are more bullish, whilst the transport engineering and electronics clusters expect lower output.

A weighted 74% of firms in the manufacturing sector reported no limiting factors that would affect their ability to obtain export orders in the first quarter of 2018.

The weighted 23% of firms that faced export constraints cited price competition from overseas competitors and economic and political conditions abroad as the most important limiting factors. 

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