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Singaporeans still uncertain about business conditions

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Despite Singapore’s economy improving, a large number of professionals are uncertain about the future.

This is according to new findings by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) on global economic conditions.

According to the study – the largest economic survey of accountants in the world – business confidence is up globally and locally, but an unprecedented number of professionals (20%) were uncertain about whether conditions are improving or not, up from just 3% last year.

Additionally, 40% of respondents were optimistic (down from 51%) while another 40% were pessimistic (down from 46%).

“This sense of uncertainty has some basis in the fundamentals of the economy. According to GECS respondents, price and exchange rate volatility moderated in early 2014, but the year-long trend towards further instability seems most likely to continue into the middle of the year,” said Emmanouil Schizas, ACCA’s senior economic analyst.

Consequently, business confidence was up for a second consecutive quarter, but responses here also paint a picture of increased uncertainty. While 29% of respondents reported confidence gains, up from 19% in late 2013, 34% reported losses, also up from 32%.

Globally, 30% of respondents said they are now more confident about their organisations, while 31% reported a loss of confidence, down from 24% in late 2013.

Additionally, more than half of the global sample were optimistic about the state of their national economies – but a closer look revealed a worrying picture.

Schizas said “the influence of fundamentals on business confidence suggests that the economic recovery is flawed and has now become much more fragile”.

Image: Shutterstock

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