Bank lending slows to 0.6% gain in November

ATM machines from UOB, DBS and OCBC Bank, at Changi Airport terminal 2.
ATM machines from UOB, DBS and OCBC Bank, at Changi Airport terminal 2.PHOTO: ST FILE

Bank lending slowed up last month, on the back of a slower pace in lending to financial institutions.

Loans hit $654 billion in November, up from $650 billion in October - a 0.6 per cent increase and well below the 1.4 per cent month-on-month gain in October.

Business borrowing rose 0.5 per cent from October to $393 billion in November, well below the 1.9 per cent-increase recorded from September to October.

Lending to financial institutions was up by just 0.4 per cent - the weakest percentage gain since July 2017 and coming off an 8.1 per cent expansion in October - to $100 billion. The segment is the second-largest contributor to business lending after building loans.

The weaker month-on-month performance was due in part to less lending in the segments of general commerce and transport and storage, which reflects lending to oil and gas companies.

Lending in general commerce fell 1 per cent to $69.3 billion, reversing from a 1.1 per cent expansion in October.

Transport and storage firms borrowed $22.4 billion, 1.1 per cent down on October, a stark turnaround on the 1.8 per cent increase from September to October.

Loans hit $654 billion in November, up from $650 billion in October - a 0.6 per cent increase and well below the 1.4 per cent month-on-month gain in October.

There was more activity in the consumer loans area, with gains across most segments.

Consumer loans grew 0.9 per cent to $261 billion from October, a shade stronger than the 0.6 per cent month-on-month gain in October.

This was largely due to stronger lending for housing, with mortgages up 0.7 per cent - the strongest percentage gain since July 2015 - to $199 billion. Car loans jumped 1.1 per cent to $8.26 billion, while credit card spending spiked 3.5 per cent to $10.8 billion.

Bank lending in November was up 7.1 per cent on the same month last year - ahead of the 6.8 per cent year-on-year growth in October.

Consumer loans last month were up 4.6 per cent over November last year, the strongest percentage gain since March 2015.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2017, with the headline 'Bank lending slows to 0.6% gain in November'. Print Edition | Subscribe