July bank lending in Singapore declines month on month

Bank lending in Singapore declined month on month for the first time since January this year, though it maintained a still strong year-on-year growth, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore showed yesterday.

Loans through the domestic banking unit stood at $667.53 billion in July, down 0.8 per cent from the record $673.25 billion reached in June, but up 5.5 per cent from $632.60 billion a year ago.

The month-on-month dip was due to the drop in business lending, which shrank 1.4 per cent to $402.46 billion from $407.97 billion in June.

The loss in monthly loan momentum came as loans to financial institutions, the general commerce sector, manufacturers, and the transport and storage sectors saw modest declines. Year on year, business loans rose 6.9 per cent from $377.71 billion in July last year, just off June's 7 per cent increase, which was the fastest since November.

July's consumer lending came in at $265.07 billion, almost unchanged from $265.28 billion in June, but up 4 per cent from $254.88 billion a year ago.

Last-minute buying to beat the latest round of property cooling measures that took effect on July 6 supported housing and bridging loans in July, as they clocked in at $203.38 billion, up 0.2 per cent from June's $203.04 billion, and a 4 per cent increase from $195.49 billion a year ago.

The reprieve may be temporary though. Singapore banks are bracing themselves for a slowdown in home loans given the latest property curbs. Global trade frictions may also have a bigger impact on business sentiment and spending going forward.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2018, with the headline 'July bank lending in S'pore declines month on month'. Print Edition | Subscribe