In February, bank lending increased in the midst of COVID-19 spread. According to the preliminary data by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Tuesday (31 March), this increase was spurred by the increase in business loans.
Loans through the domestic banking unit increase 0.2 per cent in February in comparison to January. These loans reflect primarily in Singapore-dollar lending even though the loans contain lending in all currencies.
Total lending was S$692.85 billion last month in comparison with S$691.15 billion in January, while also increasing 3.1 per cent over February last year.
The increase was fuelled by the rise in business loans, which rose 0.6 per cent to S$430.91 billion since January.
Loans to almost all business segments increased. These business segments include storage and communication sector, financial institutions, transport, manufacturing, business services, and general commerce.
However, loans to the building and construction sector declined to S$142.23 billion in February compared to S$142.4 billion in January.
Compared to business lending, consumer loans fell by 0.3 per cent to S$261.93 billion last month from January’s S$262.81 billion. In contrast to February 2019, consumer loans dropped 1.1 per cent.
As for housing loans, which form three-quarters of consumer loans, there was a decrease in February month-to-month, compared to the increase in January. Last month, housing loans dropped 0.1 per cent to S$200.63 billion from January’s S$200.83 billion.