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Singapore firms' payment performance in Q1 worst since 2016: SCCB

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Singapore firms' payment performance has in the first quarter of 2020 hit its lowest since the third quarter of 2016, with the services and manufacturing sectors seeing the largest year-on-year (y-o-y) increases in slow payment, the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB) said on Monday.

SINGAPORE firms' payment performance has in the first quarter of 2020 hit its lowest since the third quarter of 2016, with the services and manufacturing sectors seeing the largest year-on-year (y-o-y) increases in slow payment, the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB) said on Monday.

Prompt payments plunged 8.5 percentage points y-o-y to 43.20 per cent from 51.70 per cent while on a quarterly basis, it had fallen 3.03 percentage points from 46.23 per cent.

The first quarter figure of 43.20 per cent for prompt payments was close to a previous low of 42.18 per cent in Q3 2016.

On year, slow payments jumped 9.21 percentage points to 45.80 per cent from 36.59 per cent. It had risen 6.05 percentage points from 39.75 per cent in the previous quarter.

Slow payments hit its highest percentage since Q3 2016, which had 46.37 per cent of Singapore firms reporting slow payments.

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It was up across all five sectors but services and manufacturing saw the largest increases y-o-y.

Slow payments in services increased y-o-y by 9.19 percentage points to 43.68 per cent from 34.49 per cent, and was up 3.77 percentage points from 39.91 per cent on a quarterly basis.

This was due to a jump in payment delays within the recreational, hotels and accommodation and social services sub-segments impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Slow payments in manufacturing increased 7.15 percentage points to 43.80 per cent from 36.65 per cent y-o-y, while rising 4.67 percentage points from 39.13 per cent in the last quarter.

This was attributed to payment delays by manufacturers of petroleum, chemicals and lumber and wood.

Meanwhile, overall partial payments edged down to 11.00 per cent from 11.71 per cent y-o-y and fell 3.02 percentage points from 14.02 per cent in Q4 2019.

Audrey Chia, D&B Singapore’s chief executive officer, said SCCB is expecting the downtrend in payment performance to continue as firms are exposed to a higher risk of payment delinquency in the months to come.

D&B Singapore compiled the study figures by monitoring, through the SCCB, more than 1.6 million payment transactions of firms.

Prompt payment refers to when 90 per cent or more of total bills are paid within the agreed payment terms, while slow payment refers to when less than 50 per cent of total bills are paid within the agreed terms.

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