This report profiles Singapore’s banking and finance industry, discussing market trends and outlook into 2014 and beyond. The report also highlights leading players in the sector including United Overseas Bank Ltd, DBS Group Holdings Ltd and Overseas China Banking Corporation Ltd.
Singapore’s economy recorded subdued growth after the first quarter of 2014 due to lower growth in exports. Both domestic banking units and Asian currency units hence showed slightly lower loan growth in the first eight months of 2014. Loans for purchase of residential property dominated the portfolio of most of the domestic banking units. The country’s low interest rates and growing population are driving loan growth in the segment.
Fixed deposits and savings deposits continued to dominate the total deposits of banks. More than three quarters of the deposits were in these two segments. The banking system remained stable with ample liquidity to meet demand for deposit withdrawals and other liquidity obligations. The overnight policy rate of the central bank has remained stable for a while. Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has kept the lending rates low in order to drive domestic consumption in the country as well as help the small and medium enterprises.
The profitability of banks in the sector has taken a hit because of the rising costs of operation. As a result, net profits dipped across the banks. However, the outlook for Singaporean banking and financial services sector is stable owing to the strong financials of companies and stable economic environment in the country. The country’s rating as a top-ranked international financial center bode well for the growth of this sector.
The asset base of domestic banking units (DBUs) in Singapore grew at a CAGR of 10.4% during 2003-13. The total assets of the system grew by 9.1% y/y in August 2014.
The asset base of Asian Currency Units (ACUs) grew at a CAGR of 8.8% during 2003-13. The total assets of ACUs grew by 8.8% y/y in August 2014.
Total loans and advances of domestic banking units grew by 10.6% y/y in August 2014, which was lower than its long term growth trend of 11.2%. Dip in economic growth led to a slight decrease in loan growth in 8M14.
Finance and insurance sector emerged as the fastest growing sector of the economy in the otherwise slow second quarter of FY14, recording a y/y growth of 5.5%. However, this growth was much lower than that recorded during the four quarters of FY13.