Payment delays by Singapore firms up for second straight quarter in Q3

File photo showing the skyline of Singapore's central business district, on June 29, 2018. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Payment performance in Singapore continued on a downward path as slow payments rose for the second consecutive quarter in the July-September period, owing to the retail sector.

According to the latest report from the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB), prompt payments weakened slightly to under half of all payment transactions while slow payments made up over a third of transactions.

Prompt payments dipped by 1.24 percentage points quarter on quarter to 48.31 per cent in Q3, while slow payments rose 1.76 percentage points to 38.94 per cent. Partial payments fell by 0.53 percentage point to 12.74 per cent.

Comparing year on year, prompt payments inched up marginally by 0.88 percentage point to 48.31 per cent in Q3 2018, while slow payments fell by 1.81 percentage points to 38.94 per cent in Q3 2018, and partial payments rose by 0.92 percentage point to 12.74 per cent in Q3 2018.

Where slow payments are concerned, the retail industry saw a sharp jump of 14.27 percentage points, going from 29.84 per cent in Q2 to 44.11 per cent in Q3. All other sectors - construction, manufacturing, services and wholesale - improved quarter on quarter.

Even from a year-on-year perspective, slow payments fell in all categories except for retail, where slow payments rose 10.15 percentage points.

Audrey Chia, chief executive of D&B Singapore, said: "The spike in slow payments within the retail sector is the largest which we have seen since Q2 2012. This was largely due to weaker sales in the previous quarter resulting from muted consumer sentiments within key sub-sectors such as food and beverage and automobiles."

She added: "However, the overall payment performance has not deteriorated significantly as slight improvements were seen across majority of the sectors."

SCCB operates under D&B Singapore.

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