Bank lending in Singapore last month rose by 3.7 per cent from $627.43 billion compared with a year ago, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore showed yesterday.
OCBC Bank's head of treasury research and strategy Selena Ling noted that this was the slowest growth pace since January last year. She said that this could be partly attributable to the timing of Chinese New Year - which fell in February this year and in January last year - as well as to weak business sentiments after January's stock market slump amid US-initiated trade tensions.
Still, bank lending was slightly higher than in January.
Loans through the domestic banking unit - which tracks lending in all currencies, but mainly reflects Singapore-dollar lending - stood at $650.93 billion last month, up just 0.05 per cent from $650.62 billion in January.
Bank lending has been growing steadily month on month since August last year but fell in December and January.
Last month's figures were helped by a slight growth in business loans, which edged up 0.03 per cent to $387.4 billion after dipping 0.6 per cent in January.
Building and construction loans - the largest segment of all the business-loan categories - rose 0.7 per cent last month to $121.05 billion, after a small decline in January. But lending to financial institutions, the second-biggest segment, fell for a third straight month, down 0.4 per cent to $96.85 billion.
Consumer lending rose but at a slower pace last month, with loans up by 0.07 per cent month on month to $263.53 billion, compared with the 0.4 per cent rise in January.