Singapore bank lending extends fall in June for fourth consecutive month

BANK lending in Singapore continued its slide for the fourth consecutive month in June, dipping 0.7 per cent from the previous month to come in at S$680.36 billion, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) showed on Thursday.

Total loans also fell 1 per cent year on year, the first on-year decline since 2016. This was dragged down by both a fall in business loans and consumer loans, amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic which has added significant uncertainty to the outlook.

On a month-on-month basis, loans to businesses fell 1.1 per cent to S$425.85 billion in June, weighed down by weaker loans to transport, storage and communication, general commerce and financial institutions.

The transport, storage and communication segment saw the biggest plunge by 8.6 per cent to S$26.88 billion, while loans to general commerce fell 1.5 per cent to S$64.62 billion. Loans to financial institutions fell 1.3 per cent to S$102.24 billion.

However, industries such as manufacturing, building and construction, and business services still saw an uptick in loans of 1.1 per cent, 1 per cent, and 1.2 per cent respectively, but it was not enough to offset the decline in loans in the other business segments.

Consumer loans also continued to fall, dipping 0.1 per cent to S$254.51 billion. Share financing led the decline with a drop of 7.3 per cent to S$1.6 billion, followed by car loans which fell 2 per cent to S$8.32 billion.

Housing and bridging loans, which make up the bulk of consumer loans, fell 0.1 per cent to S$199.52 billion.

Credit cards was one of only two consumer segments that saw an increase as Singapore entered Phase Two of its reopening around mid-June, with loans up 2.9 per cent to S$9.45 billion. This reversed its declining trend since January this year.

Unsecured personal loans – excluding credit cards – also ticked up 0.5 per cent to S$35.6 billion over the same period after four months of decline. This reflected borrowings for education and renovation purposes, among others.