Singapore bank lending dips 0.1% in March from February

SINGAPORE - Bank lending inched down in March from the previous month amid the coronavirus outbreak, as a drop in consumer loans offset a rise in business lending, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) showed on Thursday (April 30).

Loans through the domestic banking unit, which captures lending in all currencies but reflects mainly Singapore-dollar lending, dipped 0.1 per cent in March from February.

Total lending stood at $692.4 billion in March, compared with $692.85 billion in February. It also rose 2.4 per cent over the same month last year.

Last month, loans to business segments were mix. Loans to sectors such as manufacturing, construction and transport, storage and communications rose, while loans to the agriculture and general commerce sectors and financial institutions fell.

Total business lending last month stood at $434.17 billion, 0.8 per cent more than the month before, but 5.5 per cent higher from a year ago.

Consumer loans, however, shrank by 1.4 per cent to $258.23 billion last month from $261.93 billion in February.

They fell 2.43 per cent from March last year.

Housing loans, which make up three-quarters of consumer loans, declined last month.

They dipped by 0.2 per cent to $200.29 billion, from $200.63 billion in February.

Loans across other segments such as car, credit cards and share financing fell as well in the same period.

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