Bank lending rises slightly faster in March following quiet February

People using United Overseas Bank (UOB), Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) automated teller machines at the airport in Singapore April 30, 2014. Bank lending grew at a slightly faster pace last month, af
People using United Overseas Bank (UOB), Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) automated teller machines at the airport in Singapore April 30, 2014. Bank lending grew at a slightly faster pace last month, after a quiet February. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Bank lending grew at a slightly faster pace last month, after a quiet February.

Overall bank loans - to both the consumer and business segments - came in at $587.7 billion in March, based on preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore on Wednesday.

This was a 0.55 per cent rise from February, when bank loans had grown at a modest 0.4 per cent from the month before.

But it is still much lower than the 1.4 per cent hike registered in January from December.

Business loans for March rose at a slightly faster clip, up 0.7 per cent from the month before to $360.5 billion.

In February, business loans had risen at just 0.5 per cent from January.

Loans to most sectors grew last month, but lending to manufacturing, building and construction and business services firms fell.

Consumer loans growth stayed modest at just 0.3 per cent to $227.2 billion - the same pace of growth seen in February.

Housing loans growth slowed further, inching up just 0.4 per cent in March from February to $168.9 billion, after having grown 0.5 per cent in February.

Credit card loans, car loans and share financing all fell in March.