Singapore: Bank loans show downtrend, but still up 5.1%

Latest figures from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) showed that bank loans grew for 11th straight month in August due to the still resilient business and consumer lending.

A view of the Monetary Authority of Singapore's headquarters in Singapore Reuters

Singapore bank loans grew for the 11th straight month in August, but the growth remained on the downtrend for the second month in a row.

According to the latest figures from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), total lending in the said month rose by 5.1 percent to S$634.4 billion.

Based on trends, bank lending has been on the rise since October 2016, hitting its peak at 7.6 percent in June, its the fastest growth in more than two years. However, growth started to slow down in July, up only by 5.9 percent due to the slower expansion in business loans.

The central bank recorded the ninth straight growth in business loans in the month of August, up 5.8 percent to S$378.2 billion. However, compared to the 10.5 percent growth seen in July, the recent figure paled in comparison.

There was a minimal change in the manufacturing and building & construction loans, only at 0.2 percent. According to a report from Straits Times, this could explain the reasons behind the government's decision to bring forward S$700 million worth of public amenity projects in 2017 and 2018.

The boost in overall business lending came from the financial firms, recording a 12.7 percent jump to S$89.5 billion. Loans to general commerce firms also increased by 10.4 percent to S$67.18 billion.

On the other side of the coin, consumer loans saw a 3.9 percent uptick to S$256.3 billion, lifted by the upbeat mortgages and bridging loans which went up by 4.3 percent to S$196.4 billion.

OCBC Bank's head of treasury research & strategy, Selena Ling, told the Straits Times that bank loans have already expanded by 5.9 percent YoY for the first eight months of 2017. This is to be considered as a sharp rebound from 2016's showing.