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Singapore banks likely to ease rather than lift dividend caps fully

Despite banks' earnings recovery, analyst cites tail risks from regional loan moratoriums, continued border closures and vaccine delivery logistics

Singapore

THERE may be room to lift dividend caps imposed on Singapore banks last year, with the banks sounding an optimistic note for an earnings rebound in 2021. But most analysts said just a partial relaxation from the 60 per cent cap is expected.

"A full relaxation may take longer as tail risks to asset quality remain from regional loan moratoriums, continued border closures and vaccine delivery logistics," Maybank Kim Eng's head of research Thilan Wickramasinghe told The Business Times.

In July last year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) nudged local banks to cap their total dividends per share for FY2020 at 60 per cent of the amount in the previous financial year. The authority also...

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