Singapore bank lending shrinks for 7th straight month in April

A man passes a statue of Sir Stamford Raffles next to the skyline of Singapore May 24. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Bank lending here shrank for the seventh straight month in April on a continued slump in business loans.

April's 0.76 per cent year on year fall in overall lending though was less than the 1.74 per cent contraction in March, which was the worst in more than a decade.

Total loans las month amounted to S$589.75 billion from S$594.28 billion in April last year, according to provisional data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released on Tuesday (May 31).

Last month's figure also came in below March's S$590.58 billion.

Business loans in April stood at S$346.58 billion, down 2.87 per cent from a year ago in an eighth straight month of contraction.

They also fell 0.5 per cent from March, as lending to general commerce firms, financial institutions, business services and companies in the transport, storage and communication sector declined.

Businesses here, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, have been hit hard by the slowdown and ongoing economic restructuring.

The MAS data also showed that consumer loans in April came in at S$243.17 billion, up 2.4 per cent from S$237.44 billion a year earlier and better than the S$242.21 billion in March.

Housing and bridging loans, the largest component of loans to consumers, rose modestly last month to US$185.86 bilion from S$185.37 billion in March. April's figure was also 3.6 per cent up from S$179.32 billion a year ago.

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