Singapore bank lending expands in March

Borrowing rose in March from a year earlier and faster than the pace of expansion in February.
Borrowing rose in March from a year earlier and faster than the pace of expansion in February. PHOTO: ST FILE

Bank lending expanded in March on the back of solid growth in loans to financial institutions and home buyers.

Borrowing rose 5.4 per cent in March from a year earlier and faster than the 3.7 per cent pace of expansion in February.

Loans through the domestic banking unit - which tracks lending in all currencies, but mainly reflects Singapore-dollar lending - stood at $661.6 billion in March compared with $627.95 billion in the same month last year, according to preliminary Monetary Authority of Singapore data out yesterday.

Bank lending rose 1.6 per cent in March from $650.93 billion in February.

Businesses borrowed $397.83 billion in March, up 5.4 per cent year-on-year and higher than the 2.9 per cent rate of growth in February.

Loans to financial institutions, the second-biggest segment in business lending, jumped by 17.9 per cent compared with 9.4 per cent growth in February.

Loans through the domestic banking unit - which tracks lending in all currencies, but

mainly reflects Singapore-dollar lending - stood at $661.6 billion in March compared with $627.95 billion in the same month last year, according to preliminary Monetary Authority of Singapore data out yesterday.

Building and construction loans - the largest segment - inched down 0.4 per cent to $122.44 billion from a year earlier.

Loans to manufacturers were nearly unchanged from a year earlier at $26.26 billion, after shrinking 7.5 per cent year-on-year in February.

Consumer loans continued to expand, rising by 5.4 per cent year-on-year to $263.77 billion in March, slightly faster than the 5.2 per cent growth in February.

Housing and bridging loans, the largest category by far here, rose 4.4 per cent to $201.66 billion from a year ago, comparable to the growth seen a month ago.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore bank lending expands in March'. Print Edition | Subscribe