Bank lending rises 19.7 per cent in March

Total bank lending, a gauge of economic activity, rose 19.7 per cent to $517.8 billion for March from the preceding year.

It was 1.5 per cent higher than in February.

The strong year-on-year growth was mainly due to a 22.9 per cent increase in loans to businesses to $305.7 billion last month from the preceding year.

The increase in business loans was driven by firms in the manufacturing sector, where bank lending shot up 65.7 per cent to $34.6 billion from the preceding year.

Consumer loans grew 15.4 per cent to $212 billion last month.