Singapore bank lending falls for 6th straight month in August: MAS data

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Bank lending in Singapore in August fell for the sixth straight session over the month, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore showed on Wednesday (Sept 30). This was largely driven by weaker business lending.

Loans through the domestic banking unit – which captures lending in all currencies, but reflects mainly Singapore-dollar lending – stood at $678 billion in August, compared with $679 billion a month ago.

Business lending stood at $423 billion, down 0.4 per cent from a month ago. The growth in loans to manufacturers and financial institutions narrowed from a month ago. In particular, loans to the hefty financial-institutions segment fell 2.1 per cent in August from a month ago to $101 billion.

The single-largest business lending segment – that is, to the builders – however, held up. Loans to the construction industry continued to grow, up 0.8 per cent in August over the month to $150 billion.

Consumer loans growth stayed in positive territory. In August, it lifted 0.3 per cent from a month ago to $255 billion, pushed in part by a sharp jump in share financing. Share financing was up 13.7 per cent in August from a month ago to $1.75 billion, reversing from a month-on-month decline in July.

The slight boost in consumer lending was despite mortgages contracting month on month since February this year. Housing and bridging loans stood in August at $199 billion, contracting 0.1 per cent over the month.

From a year ago, total lending in August fell 1 per cent, marking the third consecutive weakening since June.

Business loans in August was flat from a year ago, with gains in construction-related loans offset by weaker lending to the manufacturing, trade, and financing businesses.

Consumer loans have been shrinking year on year since May 2019, in synced lockstep with the straight contractions in mortgages over the same period.

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