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Business Relook

Our CEO Joshua Yim was quoted in The Business Times’ Views from the Top column on 22nd April 2013 on his forecast for the Singapore economy in 2013, given the recent economic and other developments on the local and global fronts.

He said: “The Q1 figures came as a surprise to me and many in the business community, including the fact that manufacturing took such a hit. However, I believe that it is a temporary blip. I forecast that there will be a strong upswing in the next three to five quarters. Although there are pockets around the globe, such as Europe, which has not really picked up, things are generally gathering speed, buoyed by the quantitative easing going on and the strong Asian growth story – especially the Asean countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, which are experiencing unprecedented growth.

Whether this mass printing of money by governments will lead to structural issues down the road is something that we will need to wait and see. But in the short term, I am sure that the Singapore economy will thrive in the next three to five quarters. What we are facing domestically is an acute labour shortage, which is detrimental to business. There will be heightened competition for business and manpower, and a Darwinian effect will take root. It will be the case of survival of the fittest, and the weakest will go. These issues are imminent as business costs will go up due to the basic theory of demand and supply because companies will have to pay more to attract workers.

Ultimately, companies will have to re-examine their business models and make strategic decisions whether to relocate and even close down. To survive here, they will need to focus on having operational excellence and better customer engagement, as well as stronger employee engagement so that they don’t lose people. I think the Ministry of Trade and Industry growth forecast of 1-3 per cent this year will come to pass, and my personal take is that it will be towards the higher end of 2 per cent.”

Source: The Business Times, 22 April 2013