Singapore firms conducting more overseas credit searches

The stronger global trade outlook is reigniting Singapore companies' interest in doing business with - and conducting due diligence on - their overseas counterparts.

Overseas credit searches by local businesses rose by 3.04 per cent last year after a 1.16 per cent decline in 2016, said the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB).

The Asean region accounted for the highest proportion of overseas credit searches by local firms for the fifth consecutive year, followed by East Asia and Europe.

The proportion of credit searches made on Asean companies rose from 27.17 per cent in 2016 to 27.74 per cent last year. Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand registered the most searches within Asean by Singapore firms.

The share of credit searches on East Asian companies also went up, climbing from 26.7 per cent in 2016 to 26.79 per cent last year. China, Hong Kong and South Korea were the most searched, according to the SCCB.

Credit searches made by foreign companies on local ones surged 12.85 per cent last year, compared with a 1.21 per cent decline in 2016.

Europe registered the highest proportion of credit searches done on local companies, followed by North America and East Asia.

The SCCB found credit ratings, comprising financial strength and risk indicators, unchanged for most local companies last year. However, the proportion of local companies with a deterioration in financial strength rose from 10.26 per cent in 2016 to 30.04 per cent last year.