OVERALL payment promptness of local companies took a dive last quarter after an improvement in the fourth quarter of 2014, based on latest payment statistics from the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB).
The latest figures quashed earlier hopes of further improvement in payment performance, said D&B Singapore, which compiles quarterly data through the SCCB.
Less than two-fifths of payment transactions were prompt, where at least 90 per cent of total bills are paid within the agreed payment terms.
Overall prompt payments fell 11.03 percentage points from 50.07 per cent in Q4 2014 to 39.04 per cent in Q1 2015. The latest reading marks the lowest level in nearly three years since Q2 2012 when prompt payments registered 37.3 per cent.
Slow payments - which means more than 50 per cent of total bills are paid later than the agreed credit terms - rose significantly by 12.52 percentage points from 38.89 per cent in Q4 2014 to 51.41 per cent in Q1 2015.
The weaker showing marked a deterioration from Q4 2014, when prompt payments accounted for nearly 50 per cent of the payment transactions and slow payments less than 40 per cent of payment transactions.
All five industries tracked by SCCB experienced an increase in the proportion of slow payments quarter on quarter, with the manufacturing sector overtaken the construction sector in registering the highest proportion of slow payments.