SINGAPORE: Manufacturers in Singapore are optimistic about the outlook for the first half 2004 as global demand for exports rebounds, but do not expect the pick-up to start before April, a government survey showed yesterday.
A weighted 31% of the city-state's manufacturers have forecast an improvement in business conditions in the first six months of 2004, while a weighted 11% expect a deterioration.
“Manufacturers are optimistic about business conditions in the first half of 2004 on the back of economic recovery in the US, Europe and Japan,” the Economic Development Board said in a statement.
However, in the January–March quarter, output levels are seen likely to be affected by the large number of public holidays, such as the Chinese New Year.
The survey findings came against a backdrop of improving official measurements of Singapore’s economy, with employment dropping from 17-year highs.
Manufacturing makes up around 25% of Singapore's US$90bil-a-year economy, which economists have forecast would grow by 5.2% this year.
The city-state's powerhouse electronics sector expects output to drop in the first quarter, but is upbeat on the prospect for higher demand for computer chips and disk drives in the second quarter due to higher corporate spending on information technology.
Biomedical companies are predicting stable conditions in the first half, but the aerospace sector expects conditions to prove tough as the industry remains beleaguered with no strong signs of a turnaround on the horizon. – Reuters
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