Slow payments rise across all sectors in third quarter

Slow payments rose for local companies across all sectors in the third quarter of this year, with the cash flow woes of already worst-hit construction firms worsening.

According to the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB), slow payments rose to slightly more than two-fifths of total payment transactions, while prompt payments fell to less than half.

Slow payments increased marginally from 38.47 per cent in the second quarter of this year to 40.75 per cent in the third quarter.

Year on year, slow payments fell from 46.37 per cent in the third quarter of last year to 40.75 per cent in the third quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, prompt payments dropped from 50.31 per cent in the second quarter of this year to 47.43 per cent in the third quarter of this year. Year on year, they climbed from 42.18 per cent in the third quarter of last year to 47.43 per cent in the third quarter of this year.

Quarter on quarter, slow payments deteriorated across all five industries - construction, manufacturing, services, retail and wholesale trade. All five had experienced improvements in slow payments in the second quarter of this year.

Compared with a year ago, slow payments have improved across four of the five sectors, with construction the only one registering a year on year rise in slow payments in the third quarter of this year.

For the seventh straight quarter, payment performance deteriorated for the construction sector, which recorded the highest proportion of payment delays - slow and partial payments - since the first quarter of last year.

SCCB noted that the latest reading of slow payments within the construction sector is also the second highest since the third quarter of 2012, accounting for more than half of total payment transactions.

Ann Williams

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2017, with the headline 'Slow payments rise across all sectors in third quarter'. Print Edition | Subscribe