Bank lending claws its way back to growth in October

Singapore

BANK lending in Singapore managed a return to growth in October from a month ago, boosted by an expansion in building loans that lifted overall business lending.

Loans through the domestic banking unit - which captures lending in all currencies, but reflects mainly Singapore-dollar lending - stood at S$672 billion, up from S$670 billion a month ago, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore showed on Friday.

This represented a 0.3 per cent expansion in October from September, reversing from a 0.1 per cent fall a month ago.

Building and construction loans, the single-largest business lending segment, gained 2 per cent to S$133 billion in October, in contrast to the slight 0.1 per cent contraction in September. This, alongside gains in manufacturing loans and lending to oil-and-gas firms as well as other transport-related firms, helped to offset declines in lending to trading firms and financial institutions. All in, business lending was up 0.5 per cent to S$406 billion in October from September, again reversing from a contraction in September over the previous month.

Total consumer loans were mildly up 0.1 per cent to S$266 billion in October from a month ago, weakening from the 0.2 per cent growth in September.

This came as mortgages saw flat growth and ended the month at S$204 billion. DBS, Singapore's biggest mortgage provider, had said in November that the mortgage business is expected to slow down more than earlier expected, given this year's cooling measures.

From a year ago, total lending rose 3.4 per cent, weaker than the 4.5 per cent gain posted in September.