Singapore bank lending falls for 12th straight month in September but decline is smallest since May

Signage for the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is displayed outside the central bank's headquarters in Singapore.
Signage for the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is displayed outside the central bank's headquarters in Singapore.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Bank loans fell year on year for the 12th straight month in September as uncertain economic conditions force lenders and businesses to stay cautious.

Total bank loans fell to S$603.43 billion, down 0.8 per cent compared from S$608.28 billion in September 2015, according to preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore on Monday (Oct 31).

The September data marks the smallest year-on-year decline in loans since May this year. The rate of decline eased from August's when total bank loans fell 1.6 per cent year on year.

Compared to August, lending was flat. Total loans in September inched down 0.07 per cent from S$603.85 billion recorded in August.

Year on year, business loans fell 3.4 per cent in September to S$355 billion, with large declines recorded in sectors such as agriculture, mining and quarrying, manufacturing and general commerce.

The drop in business loans was mitigated by the continued rise in consumer lending.

Supported by increases in increases in mortgages and credit card interest payments, consumer loans rose to S$248.4 billion, up 3.1 per cent from the same month last year.