Business activity in Singapore's private sector slowed in February, indicating a softening in economic conditions, data showed on Thursday.

The Nikkei Singapore Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for February was at 51.6, down from 52.5 in the previous month.

Any readings above 50 shows an expansion of activity but the lower numbers last month indicate a loss of pace in growth.

The pace of growth in the private sector was the slowest since October last year, said Markit, which put together the February factory activity data.

"Relatively subdued market conditions fed through to modest employment growth across the sector. Unless demand picks up, both at home and abroad, it seems likely that growth momentum will weaken further in the coming months," Markit economist Annabel Fiddes said.

Nikkei Singapore PMI is an economy-wide indicator of activity that covers the performance of sectors including manufacturing, services, construction, transportation and storage and retail.

On Wednesday Singapore's manufacturing PMI data showed activity in February was down by 0.5 to hit 48.5, the lowest reading since December 2012.