Bank lending grew by slower pace in April from a month ago

Bank lending in Singapore grew by a slower pace in April from a month ago, as business lending lost some of its momentum over the month, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore showed yesterday.

Loans through the domestic banking unit - which captures lending in all currencies but reflects mainly Singapore-dollar lending - stood at $667 billion in April, up from $662 billion a month before.

This translated to a 0.8 per cent increase in April from March.

That pace of growth is weaker than the 1.6 per cent increase seen in March from February, reflecting a slower growth in business loans.

Business lending was up 1.2 per cent in April from a month ago to $402 billion. That compared to a 2.7 per cent gain in March from February.

Loans to the building and construction sector grew slightly, by 0.4 per cent, to $123 billion in April compared to March. This increase is weaker than the 1.1 per cent gain in March from a month ago.

Likewise, while loans to financial institutions were up 4.8 per cent to $108 billion in April from a month ago, that gain was still weaker than the 6.6 per cent month-on-month increase seen in March.

Meanwhile, lending to the manufacturing and general commerce sectors reversed into negative territory.

Consumer lending gained by a slightly faster clip, at 0.3 per cent in April from a month ago to $265 billion.

Housing loans, which make up the bulk of consumer lending, found more momentum in April, gaining 0.4 per cent to $202 billion.

From a year ago, bank lending rose 5.7 per cent. This is a shade stronger than the year-on-year increase of 5.4 per cent posted in March.

Ms Selena Ling, OCBC Bank's head of treasury research and strategy retained the bank loans growth forecast at 4 per for the full year of 2018, compared with the previous year. - THE STRAITS TIMES