Bank lending up 6.2% to $640.68b in September

Bank lending rose in September - the 12th straight month of increase - fuelled by business borrowing .

Total lending hit $640.68 billion, up 6.2 per cent compared with September last year, according to preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore yesterday.

Bank loans have been rising year on year since October last year with growth hitting 7.6 per cent in June, the fastest in more than two years. Momentum slowed in July and August, mainly because of slower growth in business loans.

On a month-on-month basis, September lending rose 1 per cent from the $634.41 billion recorded in August, when growth of 0.3 per cent was racked up.

Business lending in September expanded year on year for the 10th straight month to $383.29 billion, up 8 per cent from a year earlier.

Growth came from lending to financial firms, which swelled 15 per cent year on year to $92.37 billion, and to general commerce firms, up 16.4 per cent to $69.2 billion.

Loans to manufacturers rose 11.1 per cent to $26.53 billion, while those to transport, storage and communication firms climbed 10.8 per cent to $22.22 billion.

NO SLOWNDOWN IN SIGHT

Given the benign macroeconomic prognosis for 2018, especially for regional economies, and a very gradualist approach to global monetary policy normalisation, we do not expect any precipitous slowdown in domestic bank loans growth.

OCBC ECONOMIST SELENA LING

But lending to the struggling building and construction sector saw little change at $120.12 billion.

Meanwhile, consumer borrowing in September rose 3.6 per cent year on year to $257.4 billion, lower than August's 3.9 per cent growth. Mortgages and bridging loans increased 4.2 per cent to $197.03 billion.

"With the recent pick-up in en-bloc sales and interest in the private residential property market, it remains to be seen if housing loans growth will moderate or hold steady," said OCBC economist Selena Ling.

"Given the benign macroeconomic prognosis for 2018, especially for regional economies, and a very gradualist approach to global monetary policy normalisation, we do not expect any precipitous slowdown in domestic bank loans growth."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2017, with the headline 'Bank lending up 6.2% to $640.68b in September'. Print Edition | Subscribe