Singapore’s SMEs were in a contract mood for the fifth consecutive quarter, reported Xinhua quoting a report released by the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) today.

The bank’s latest SME index registered at 49.7 in the first quarter this year, edging up by 0.2 from the previous quarter but remaining contractionary. The SME index is based on transaction data of over 100,000 OCBC SME customers in Singapore. A reading above 50 signifies improved health, while a score of below 50 shows deterioration.

SME collections and payments grew by 1.4 per cent and 1.9 per cent year-on-year against bumpy disinflation trends and elevated cost pressures, the bank noted.

The SME index will remain flat before a gradual upturn towards the second half of this year, according to OCBC.

Up to 51 per cent of the 1,200 SME business owners surveyed in the OCBC SME Business Outlook poll in the first quarter expected better performance over the next six months.

The turnaround in global electronics and a positive outlook for the Asean economies is expected to be positive on the outward-oriented sectors in Singapore, the bank said. — Bernama


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