Singapore bank lending almost flat in April

SINGAPORE - Bank lending in Singapore barely inched upwards in April over the previous month, extending a period of almost-flat growth that began in February.

Banks here lent a total of $591.1 billion to consumers and businesses, based on preliminary Monetary Authority of Singapore data released on Friday.

This is a 0.6 per cent rise over March, similar to the increase registered in March from February.

The numbers have been sluggish since February, when loan growth came in at 0.4 per cent over January.

Business loans for April stood at $363.1 billion, up 0.7 per cent from March, maintaining the pace in March from February.

But bank lending to the manufacturing and general commerce sectors fell in April over March. This was offset by an increase in loans given out to businesses in other sectors, including building and construction, and transport, storage and communication.

Consumer loan growth was also slow in April, edging up just 0.3 per cent over the preceding month to reach $228 billion.

Car loans continued to decline, while housing loans edged up at a more moderate pace.

April bank lending rose 13.2 per cent over the same month last year, slightly slower than March's 13.5 per cent growth.