The last quarter of 2018 saw a deterioration in local firms' payment performance for three straight quarters, and more companies were also slow in payment compared with the last quarter a year ago, according to the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB).
SCCB in a statement issued yesterday said prompt payments slid 4.48 percentage points quarter on quarter to 43.83 per cent of total payment transactions, while slow payments saw an improvement as there was a 0.92 percentage point dip to 38.02 per cent of total payment transactions.
Partial payments increased by 5.41 percentage points to 18.15 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year from 12.74 per cent in the third quarter.
From a year-on-year perspective, prompt payments dropped by 6.57 percentage points, while slow payments increased by 1.1 percentage points. Partial payments rose by 5.47 percentage points.
Prompt payment refers to when 90 per cent or more of total bills are paid within the agreed payment terms, while slow payment is defined as when less than 50 per cent of total bills are paid within the agreed terms. Partial payment refers to when between 50 and 90 per cent of total bills are paid within the agreed payment terms.
Among the five sectors, manufacturing and wholesale experienced slight dips in quarter-on-quarter payment performance. In contrast, the construction, services and retail sectors saw improvements.
The deterioration in payment performance in the manufacturing sector was a result of an increase in payment delays by manufacturers of petroleum and coal products, machinery and apparels.
Payment delays within the wholesale sector was due to an increase in such delays within the wholesale trade of durable goods.
D&B Singapore compiles the figures by monitoring more than 1.6 million payment transactions of firms operating through SCCB. Payment data is contributed to the bureau by local firms.