Bosses of manufacturing firms in Singapore have become generally more optimistic about business conditions, on the back of an improving global economy.
Just over a tenth of them expect the outlook to brighten in the January to June period this year, compared with the October to December period last year, according to the Economic Development Board's latest survey of business expectations in the manufacturing sector.
More than eight in 10 manufacturing bosses think business prospects will stay the same, while only 7 per cent are tipping a decline in the outlook.
This is an improvement from three months ago, when 7 per cent of manufacturers were upbeat and 8 per cent were gloomy.
Within the sector, all clusters except electronics are projecting better business conditions for the first half of this year, the EDB said. Electronics firms are concerned about continuing lacklustre demand for PCs and disk drives.
Biomedical companies, however, are the most cheery, with one in five firms expecting an improved outlook.
"The pharmaceutical segment anticipates higher orders from the US and Europe, while the medical technology segment plans to launch new medical devices," the EDB said.
All manufacturing clusters except electronics and chemicals foresee higher output in the next three months, the agency added.
Companies in the service sector are somewhat less upbeat, according to data compiled by the Singapore Department of Statistics (Singstat).
Although 15 per cent are anticipating an improved outlook for the first half of this year compared with the second half of last year, an almost equal proportion - 14 per cent - are expecting business conditions to worsen.
The most optimistic firms are those operating in the information and communications, recreation, community and personal service, and financial and insurance industries, Singstat said. In contrast, the gloomiest firms are in the food and beverage, real estate service, accommodation and transport and storage industries.
"Firms in the accommodation and food and beverage service industries usually expect less favourable business conditions for the first half of the year after experiencing brisk business during the previous six months of (the) festive period," said the department.
Nearly a third of real estate firms expect business to slow down, saying the recent government cooling measures will continue to weigh on the industry.