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Singapore bank lending drops in July as home loans shrink further: MAS preliminary data

BANK lending in Singapore dipped in July from a month ago on broad weakness across both business and consumer loans, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore showed on Friday.

Loans through the domestic banking unit – which captures lending in all currencies, but reflects mainly Singapore-dollar lending – fell 0.9 per cent to S$680.7 billion in July, from S$687.08 billion a month ago. From a year ago, total lending rose 2 per cent.

The slide in bank lending in July from a month ago came mostly from a drag in business loans as it fell by 1.3 per cent to S$418.01 billion, reversing from its growth streak seen in the past six months.

General commerce loans slid the most, falling by 4.6 per cent month on month, followed by loans to financial institutions, which were down by 3 per cent. The manufacturing sector also saw a 2.7 per cent dip in bank lending, as the US-China trade war continued to weigh on demand and cloud the outlook.

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However, there were still some segments that held up, such as building and construction, which saw loans go up 0.7 per cent, while loans to transport, storage and communication sector grew 1.7 per cent.

Total consumer loans dipped 0.3 per cent to S$262.7 billion in July compared with a month ago, on the back of a continued decline in housing loans.

Housing loans, which account for three-quarters of consumer lending, dropped for a seventh straight month, on a month-to-month basis, declining 0.2 per cent to S$201.77 billion. Year on year, they were down about 0.8 per cent.

This comes as the local property market has seen demand tempered by cooling measures put in place last July.