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Overseas credit searches by Singapore firms fall on global economic uncertainties

OVERSEAS credit searches by local firms have declined for the second consecutive year amid global uncertainties and tough economic conditions, according to the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB).

In a report released on Wednesday, SCCB said that overseas credit searches by local businesses recorded a 19.13 per cent decrease in 2015, marking an accelerated decline from the previous year when overseas credit searches fell by 12.83 per cent in 2014.

For 2015, Asean made up slightly more than a third of all overseas credit searches by local firms, rising marginally from 33.04 per cent in 2014 to 36.54 per cent in 2015. Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand were the most searched countries by Singapore companies; they also remained as Singapore's top non-oil domestic export markets for 2015, going by IE Singapore data.

Overseas credit searches on East Asian companies fell from 24.01 per cent in 2014 to 20.62 per cent in 2015, while those on Europe (or EU-28) companies rose further from 12.69 per cent in 2014 to 15.68 per cent in 2015.

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Meanwhile, credit searches made by foreign companies on local firms rose significantly by 36.97 per cent over the past year from 2014 to 2015. EU-28 accounted for the highest proportion of credit searches done on Singapore companies, followed by North America and East Asia.

"Over the past year, we have seen a visible decrease in overseas credit searches by Singapore companies, as firms are more cautious and have scaled back their overseas expansion plans given the global uncertainties and tougher economic conditions," said SCCB chief executive Audrey Chia.

She added: "However, our findings also revealed that foreign searches on local companies have increased, which points to the fact that foreign investment interest in local markets has remained strong."