Singapore bank lending edges up in February

ATM machines from UOB, DBS and OCBC Bank at Changi Airport Terminal 2.
ATM machines from UOB, DBS and OCBC Bank at Changi Airport Terminal 2.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Bank lending in Singapore rose slightly in February from the previous month, reversing January's dip, according to preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore on Thursday (March 29).

Loans through the domestic banking unit - which tracks lending in all currencies, but mainly reflects Singapore-dollar lending - stood at S$650.93 billion last month, up just 0.05 per cent from S$650.62 billion in January.

Bank lending has been growing steadily month-on-month since August last year but dipped 0.3 per cent in December and 0.2 per cent in January.

February's figures were helped by a slight growth in business loans, which edged up 0.03 per cent to S$387.4 billion from a month ago. This segment shrank 0.6 per cent month-on-month in January.

Building and construction loans - the largest segment of all the business-loan categories - rose 0.7 per cent in February from a month ago to S$121.05 billion, after a small decline in January.

But lending to financial institutions, the second biggest segment, dropped for a third straight month, down 0.4 per cent to S$96.85 billion.

Consumer lending rose but a slower pace in February, with loans up by 0.07 per cent month-on-month to S$263.53 billion, compared to the 0.4 per cent rise in January.

Housing and bridging loans also grew at a slower pace month-on-month. They rose 0.1 per cent in February to S$201.33 billion, as compared to the 0.5 per cent increase in January.

From a year ago, bank lending last month was up by 3.7 per cent from S$627.43 billion in February 2017.