TOKYO -- Singapore's private sector grew marginally in January, with output stopping its expansion for the first time since September and new business growth weakening further.
The Nikkei Singapore Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, decreased to 50.1 in January from 52.7 in December, edging closer to a state of stagnation. A reading above 50 indicates economic expansion, while a reading below 50 points toward contraction.
New business increased fractionally and was the weakest recorded across the past two and a half years while sales to foreign clients fell at an accelerated pace. Slower growth in order books also curbed recruitment, ending a 16 month run of job creation in the private sector.
"The underlying trajectory of Singapore's economy took a turn for the worse during January," said Joe Hayes, economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey. The data "suggests that private sector companies are bracing themselves for less favorable times with employment, input buying and stock levels being reduced," concluding that "against an already-challenging global economic environment, signs of a waning domestic market suggest difficulties lie ahead for Singapore," he added.
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