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Singapore SMEs least punctual in repaying debt in 2 years: report

THE percentage of small and medium enterprise (SME) debt that was paid on time fell to 37 per cent in the second quarter of 2017, the lowest in two years, according to credit information company DP Information Group.

The proportion of SME debt paid on time fell from 52 per cent in the first quarter of the year, and was the lowest since the 35 per cent on-time repayment rate in the second quarter of 2015. The on-time rate was also 52 per cent in the second quarter of 2016.

The percentage of severely delinquent debt - defined as borrowings unpaid for at least 90 days - remained at 14 per cent, the same rate as in Q1.

SMEs also took longer to repay delinquent debt, with average days turned cash increasing to 35 days from 31 days in the previous quarter.

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The largest deterioration came from the transportation and storage sector, where timely repayment fell 27 percentage points quarter-on-quarter to 44 per cent. Days turned cash for the sector also fell the sharpest among industry sectors, widening by 11 days to 32 days.

The construction sector experienced the best improvement in timely repayment, up 10 percentage points quarter-on-quarter to 38 per cent. Days turned cash, however, lengthened to 55 days from 52 days. The construction sector's days-turned-cash average was the longest among industrial sectors.

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