Bank lending edged up 0.2% in February on rise in business loans: MAS data

SINGAPORE – Bank lending crept up in February amid the coronavirus outbreak, on the back of a rise in business loans, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) showed on Tuesday (March 31).

Loans through the domestic banking unit, which captures lending in all currencies, but reflects mainly Singapore-dollar lending, rose 0.2 per cent last month compared with January.

Total lending stood at $692.85 billion in February, compared with $691.15 billion in January. It also rose 3.1 per cent over the same month last year.

This was mainly on the back of business loans, which were up 0.6 per cent from January to $430.91 billion.

Loans to nearly all business segments rose, including financial institutions, manufacturing, general commerce, business services as well as the transport, storage and communication sector.

But loans to the building and construction sector fell, to $142.23 billion last month from $142.4 in January.

In contrast to business lending, consumer loans shrank by 0.3 per cent to $261.93 billion in February from $262.81 billion the previous month.

They fell 1.1 per cent compared with the same month last year.

Housing loans, which make up thrree-quarters of consumer loans, declined in February month-on-month, reversing a slight increase in January. They dipped by 0.1 per cent to $200.63 billion last month, from $200.83 billion in January.

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