Bank lending recovers to post gains in August

Singapore

BANK lending in Singapore crept higher in August from a month ago after July saw the first decline since January, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore showed on Friday.

Loans through the domestic banking unit - which captures lending in all currencies, but reflects mainly Singapore-dollar lending - stood at S$670 billion in August, 0.4 per cent up from S$668 billion a month ago.

The growth reverses from the 0.9 per cent decline in July compared to a month ago, as business lending returned to growth. Business lending increased 0.6 per cent in August to S$405 billion. In July, business lending fell 1.4 per cent.

The lift in business lending came from stronger lending to the building and construction segment - the single-largest business segment for loans - with the business lending gaining 2.5 per cent from a month ago to S$131 billion to August. This is stronger than the 0.2 per cent gain registered in July for the segment.

But this was slightly offset by the fourth straight decline in lending to financial institutions on a month-on-month basis, with lending to the segment falling 1.7 per cent in August from July to S$103 billion.

Consumer lending in August was flat at S$265 billion. In July, this was down 0.1 per cent on a month-on-month basis. This came as housing loans inched up just 0.1 per cent in August from a month ago to S$204 billion. Further, compared to a year ago, mortgages in August rose just 3.7 per cent, reflecting the ongoing deceleration in gains since June.

From a year ago, bank lending rose 5.6 per cent, stronger than the year-on-year increase of 5.5 per cent posted in July.