Fewer prompt payments by local companies in Q1

Local companies have become less prompt with making payments, according to a report released on Monday. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Local companies have become less prompt with making payments, according to a report released on Monday. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Local companies have become less prompt with making payments, according to a report released on Monday.

Only 51.92 per cent of payments in the first three months of this year were made on time, down from 57.73 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, according to the report. The quarterly study is compiled by D&B Singapore, which monitors more than 1.5 million payment transactions by companies through the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau.

Compared to a year ago, however, overall prompt payments rose slightly, from 50.38 per cent in the first quarter of last year.

The proportion of slow payments rose from 32.84 per cent in the fourth quarter last year to 37.88 per cent in the first quarter this year.

Partial payments also rose by 0.77 percentage points in the period to 10.2 per cent.

The construction, manufacturing, services and wholesale sectors were all guilty of more slow payments in the first quarter from the preceding quarter.

Only the retail sector experienced fewer payment delays, which fell by 5.25 percentage points.

Ms Audrey Chia, D&B Singapore's chief executive officer, said: "The slight decline in payment performance was likely due to the vagaries of the trade cycle as local firms are still very much exposed to external headwinds and downside risks."

She added: "The weaker performance could be cyclical and should not be an indication of a downward trend carrying over into the next quarter."