Commercial bank loans up 14.2% in March

THE total outstanding loans of commercial banks, net of reverse repurchase placements with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, grew 14.2 percent in March, just slightly off the pace of February’s 15-percent increase, the BSP said Tuesday.

Bank lending inclusive of RRPs, however, improved 14.7 percent to reach P3.5 trillion in March from a growth of 14.5 percent in February.

“On a month-on-month seasonally-adjusted basis, commercial bank lending in March increased by 1.2 percent for loans net of RRPs while loans inclusive of RRPs rose by 2.4 percent as well,” said the central bank.

Loans for production activities, constituting more than 80 percent of banks’ aggregate loan portfolio, rose 14.2 percent in March from 15.1 percent in February. Consumer loan growth also slowed, up 10.8 percent in March from 11.9 percent in February.

According to the central bank, production loans increased primarily due to the growth in loans for real estate, renting and business services (25.2 percent); financial intermediation (28.8 percent); transportation, storage and communication (26.2 percent); wholesale and retail trade (10.4 percent); and electricity, gas and water (15.4 percent).

Lending to agriculture, hunting and forestry (-10.3 percent) continued its decline in March.

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