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Singapore Services Producing Industries Continue To Contract in First Quarter Of 2002
Jul 7, 2002

Singapore’s services sector, which includes wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants, transport and communications, financial services, business services, and other services industries contracted by 0.2% in the first quarter of 2002, according to the Singapore Department of Statistics. In the last quarter of 2001, the services sector had registered a 1.3% drop in production.

Business services which registered a 0.1% increase together with other services which increased production by 2.9%, and transport and communications which grew by 4.9% where the only services subsectors to grow in the first quarter of 2002. These subsectors had also registered positive growth in the last quarter of 2001, with business services increasing by 0.3%, other services by 5.3%, and transport and communications by 1.1%. Although together these industries constitute over 50% of Singapore’s services producing industries, the increase in business services, other services and transport and communications was not enough to offset the considerable drops in production of financial services, retail and wholesale trade and hotels and restaurants. Financial services decreased by 3.25 in the first quarter of 2002 after registering a 1.1% increase in the last quarter of 2001. Whole sale and retail trade decreased by 3.7% after registering a dramatic 5.5% drop in the last quarter of 2001, while hotels and restaurants continued to be the worst performing services industries after dropping by an additional 5.5% in the first quarter of 2001.

Singapore’s services business receipts index confirmed this trend after the index for the entire services sector dropped by 1.7% in the first quarter of 2002. Excluding financial services, the index dropped by 2.9%. The financial services index had registered an outstanding 17.4% increase in the last quarter of 2001, but registered a more modest 1.8% increase in the first quarter of 2002. The professional services index also increased, albeit at a slower pace than in 2001, and a similar pattern was followed by medical services.

According to the Business Expectation Survey conducted by the Singapore Department of Statistics, the services business sentiment for the third quarter of 2002 is mixed, with more firms predicting a continued drop in business activity. Financial institutions together with legal and consultancy firms expect business prospects to improve, while real state, information technology, and engineering firms expect conditions to worsen in the third quarter of 2002. Transportation industries present the worst expectations after considerable drops in business confidence were registered by the air transport industry

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