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Further drop in housing loans but business lending, total loans rise in June: MAS data

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Housing loans in Singapore extended its slide in June, but the drop was more than offset by higher lending to businesses, resulting in an increase in total loans for the month.

HOUSING loans in Singapore extended its slide in June, but the drop was more than offset by higher lending to businesses, resulting in an increase in total loans for the month.

Preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released on Wednesday shows that June residential mortgages stood at S$202.21 billion, down 0.2 per cent and 0.4 per cent month on month and year on year respectively. This was the sixth straight month that the segment saw a decline, and the magnitude has enlarged from the 0.1 per cent month-on-month and the 0.3 per cent year-on-year contraction seen in May.

This was borne out by the contraction seen in the Republic's biggest housing loan lender DBS's mortgage book. The bank, with a 31 per cent share of the local market, experienced a further decline in housing loans in April to June, after its first drop in years in the January-March quarter. But bookings have gone up by 60 per cent as compared to the January-March quarter. The effect of the S$2.5 billion worth of new bookings would only be reflected in the bank's balance sheet in subsequent quarter(s).

The government implemented measures last year to cool the "exuberant" property market in Singapore, tempering demand and sentiment as a result.

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Total consumer lending also declined on the back of weaker housing loans - which make up about three-quarters of total consumer loans, down 0.1 per cent month on month to S$263.58 billion. Compared to a year ago, the drop was 0.6 per cent.

In contrast, loans to businesses came in strong at S$423.5 billion in June, up 1.3 per cent month on month and 3.8 per cent year on year.

Thanks to business loans, total loans momentum was maintained with the same magnitude of increase - 0.8 per cent month on month and 2.1 per cent year on year - to S$687.08 billion.