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Singapore SMEs face continued challenges



Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore remained in contraction for the fifth consecutive quarter, with the OCBC SME Index slightly rising to 49.7 in Q1 2024 from 49.5 the previous quarter. Despite challenges like disinflation trends and high costs, some sectors showed improvement. Education and food and beverage sectors turned expansionary, with readings of 50.5 and 50.2 respectively, boosted by domestic consumption during Chinese New Year and increased tourism. The retail sector also displayed resilience, maintaining a score of 50.9. Conversely, outward-oriented sectors like manufacturing, transport, and logistics, although improving, stayed in contraction. OCBC predicts a flat index in the near term with potential improvement in the second half of the year, influenced by a global electronics upturn and ASEAN economic growth.

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