Singapore small business confidence in remains positive

PHOTO: Singapore small business confidence in remains positive

SINGAPORE - More than half of the small business in remain positive about growth prospects for their own business and looking to increase headcount in 2014.

According to an annual CPA Australia Asia Pacific Small Business Survey, some 57 per cent of Singapore businesses are expecting growth next year.

Of this, some six-in-10 believe growth will come from increased sales, while just over a third say expansion will come from improvements to their business models.

Still, confidence levels in Singapore's economy in 2014 are at a five-year low, with only 48 per cent of respondents expecting the economy to grow. In the previous survey last year, some 60 per cent of small businesses expected the economy to expand.

CPA Australia chief executive, Alex Malley said "While confidence is down, the sector seems to be showing enormous resilience in the face of this adversity, with more than a third of small businesses surveyed still saying they intend to add staff in 2014 and almost half at least expecting to grow a little in the year ahead.

"What we know on the basis of five years of data is that Singapore's small business sector is typically well managed, and while this is likely to help businesses weather any potential storms ahead it is also likely to mean a continuing focus on improving business management across the sector in 2014."

Mr Malley said global economic volatility stemming from a slowdown in China's economic growth and other external factors were likely behind the significant dip in confidence levels in this year's survey.

"Global economic uncertainty is having implications across the Asian region, and that's certainly evident in Singapore's results this time around.

The results are part of an annual snapshot of small business confidence in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia which began in 2009.

Mr Malley said the survey results in Singapore were similarly reflected elsewhere in the region.

"Small business confidence in Hong Kong has virtually collapsed compared with last year's survey and is also down significantly from 2013 in Malaysia and Indonesia.

"It underscores the challenges for the global economy ahead - no sector is immune from the economic volatility and that is certainly true when it comes to small business."

Mr Malley said in contrast to the results in Singapore, the survey showed small business confidence was up in Australia and New Zealand up, in part due to a change in Government in Australia and a more positive economic outlook in New Zealand.