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Singapore companies less prompt in paying bills in Q1

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Singapore companies were more tardy about paying bills in the first quarter of 2016, the first deterioration of payment performance after three quarters of improvement, the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau said on Monday.

SINGAPORE companies were more tardy about paying bills in the first quarter of 2016, the first deterioration of payment performance after three quarters of improvement, the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau said on Monday.

Overall prompt payments comprised 41.11 per cent of all business payments in the first three months of this year, an 11.99 percentage-point drop from the 53.10 per cent in the last quarter of 2015. On a year-on-year basis, however, prompt payments improved by 2.07 percentage points from 39.04 per cent a year earlier.

Slow payments increased to 46.58 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, up from 35.43 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2015. Year-on-year performance improved, however, with year-ago slow payments higher by 4.83 percentage points at 51.41 per cent.

Partial payments also increased in the first quarter to 12.31 per cent, by 0.84 percentage points quarter on quarter and by 2.76 percentage points year on year.

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"The deterioration in payment performance should come as no surprise with the strong deceleration in payment delays which we have seen at the end of 2015," said Audrey Chia, chief executive of D&B Singapore, which compiles the figures.

"Last quarter also marks the very first time when slow payments across all sectors have risen in one year. Interestingly, we have seen a rising trend of partial payments being made over the recent quarters. In times of economic uncertainties, a partial deferment of payment may offer a viable alternative for firms to circumvent cashflow issues," Ms Chia said.

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