Bank lending slows as production eases

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Bank lending grew at a slower pace in January as loans for production activities and household consumption eased.

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Data for January from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed a 17.3 percent rise in outstanding loans granted by commercial banks, excluding reverse repurchase placements (RRP) with the central bank, slowing from the revised 19.9 percent increase recorded in December.

Including the RRPs, or money lent to the BSP, growth in bank lending eased to 16.6 percent from the revised 19.1 percent increase recorded in the month earlier.

“On month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, commercial bank lending decreased by 0.3 percent for both loans net of RRPs and loans inclusive of RRPs,” the BSP said in a statement.

Lending for production activities, which comprised more than four-fifths of the banks’ aggregate loan portfolio, lost momentum to 16 percent in January from the revised 18.7 percent in December.

The central bank gave no explanation for the slowdown. Focusing on the 16 percent increase in production loans, it said in the statement: “Growth in production loans was driven by increased lending to real estate, renting, and business services; wholesale and retail trade; manufacturing; electricity, gas and water; financial intermediation; and transportation, storage and communication.”

“Bank lending to other sectors also rose during the month, except for public administration and defense, and other community, social and personal services, which declined by 3.2 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively,” it added.

Lending for household consumption lost pace to 20.5 percent from the preceding month’s revised 21.1 percent, given the slowdown in salary and personal loans, which was partly offset by sustained growth in credit card and car loans, according to the figures.

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