Prompt payments by local firms up in Q1

Local firms lifted their game on meeting payments to creditors after three consecutive quarters of decline, a report noted yesterday.

It found that prompt payments rose to just over half of total transactions in the first quarter, while slow payments comprised about a third.

A prompt payment is when at least 90 per cent of a bill is paid within the agreed terms; a slow one is when less than 50 per cent of an invoice is settled.

The report from the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB) noted that prompt payments increased by 7.87 percentage points to 51.7 per cent in the first quarter, from 43.83 per cent in the last three months of last year.

Slow payments decreased by 1.43 percentage points, from 38.02 per cent to 36.59 per cent.

Partial payments - when 50 to 90 per cent of a bill is paid within the agreed terms - fell 6.44 percentage points to 11.71 per cent in the first quarter.

Prompt payments on a year-on-year basis inched up 0.5 percentage point, while slow payments rose 0.85 percentage point and partial ones dipped 1.35 percentage points.

Construction was the only one of five sectors that recorded an increase in slow payments from the fourth quarter of last year to the first three months of this year. This followed four straight quarters of improvement.

The report from the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau noted that prompt payments increased by 7.87 percentage points to 51.7 per cent in the first quarter, from 43.83 per cent in the last three months of last year.

Manufacturing, retail, services and wholesale saw improvements.

"The rebound in payment performance should come as no surprise, given that slow payments have been on a decline since the fourth quarter of 2018," said D&B Singapore chief executive Audrey Chia.

D&B compiles the figures by monitoring about 1.6 million payment transactions of firms operating through its SCCB unit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2019, with the headline 'Prompt payments by local firms up in Q1'. Print Edition | Subscribe