RETAIL | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Chart of the Day: New F&B firms are sprouting amidst weak industry

Employment and property occupancy in the two sectors has been declining since 2015.

This chart from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) shows the indicators created by Singapore's economic policy group (EPG) to assess the extent of slack in the retail and food and beverage (F&B) services segments.

To create the chart, the EPG collected information from five series: the net employment changes in the two sectors, the net firm formation in each industry, and the retail occupancy rate.

MAS said the factor utilisation in these segments started to decline in 2015, largely as a result of the closure of firms and fall in hiring, especially in the retail industry.

In Q4 of 2017, only the net firm formations of F&B firms has improved and surpassed the indicator's mean. The occupancy rate in retail was still close to the trough, indicating continued weakness in the sector.

MAS said that whilst weakness has persisted, there have been signs of easing since late 2016. "Even as occupancy rates of retail space remained mildly depressed, there has been a rise in net firm formation in both the restaurant and retail industries," it added.

The data have been statistically normalised with a mean of 100 and plotted on a four-quarter moving average basis.

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