July bank lending up 12% in fastest growth on record: MAS data

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Bank lending in Singapore posted the fastest monthly growth on record in July, lifted by unusually strong demand across several business segments and unsecured personal loans.

Loans through the domestic banking unit – which captures lending in all currencies but reflects mainly Singapore-dollar lending – surged 12 per cent for the ninth consecutive month to S$788.49 billion in July, data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore showed on Tuesday.

This compares to the 1.5 per cent month-on-month growth seen in June – the fastest since March 2018.

Business loans were up a record 11.5 per cent to S$487.18 billion in July, much higher than the 1.9 per cent increase posted in June.

Loans to the single largest business segment – building and construction – rose 8 per cent to S$163.50 billion in July to reverse the 0.7 per cent contraction in June.

Loans to general commerce were up nearly 50 per cent to S$108.09 billion in July, while transport loans surged 73.6 per cent to S$43.67 billion.

Notably, loans to the agriculture, mining and quarrying industry jumped nearly three times to S$5 billion in July, compared to just S$1.84 billion a month ago.

Loans to financial institutions bucked the overall trend, down 3 per cent to S$100.38 billion in July. Loans to manufacturing and others also slipped, respectively down 12.7 per cent to S$25.10 billion, and 9.1 per cent to S$29.40 billion.

In July, total consumer loans climbed 12.8 per cent to S$301.31 billion, helped mainly by the 77 per cent jump in unsecured personal loans (excluding credit cards) to S$72.96 billion.

This is significantly faster than the 1.8 per cent growth posted in June for unsecured personal loans.

Housing loans, which account for three-quarters of consumer lending, inched up 1.2 per cent to S$208.68 billion in July.

Credit card loans rose 6.9 per cent to S$10.17 billion, while car loans fell 0.3 per cent to S$8.37 billion.

Loans to share financing also slumped 34.6 per cent to S$1.13 billion.

On a yearly basis, total bank lending in Singapore rose 16.2 per cent in July. Consumer loans were up 18.4 per cent, while business loans grew 14.8 per cent.

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