RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Malaysia

Malaysian bank loan growth drops further to 5.6% in December

Working capital, construction, home and auto loans weakened.

The growth in Malaysian bank loans eased to 5.6% in December from 6.2% in January-November amidst a broad-based decline in lending segments, according to UOB Kay Hian.

Also read: Looming loan slowdown threatens Malaysian banks' 2019 earnings

Working capital, residential property, construction and auto loans growth moderated from 6.2%, 7.7%, 10.2% and 0.1% to 5.2%, 7.6%, 8.9% and -0.1% respectively in December.

Lending figures have been weighed down by sluggish approval rates which contracted 10.1% YoY in December amidst a decline in working capital and car loans. On the other hand,  loan applications improved to 4.8% following a sharp contraction in the previous month.

The subdued sentiment is likely to extend into the year as businesses remain cautious about the corporate policies being charted under the new administration.

Also read: Cautious corporates could drag Malaysian bank lending

“Moving into 2019, we are retaining our loans growth forecast of 5.0-5.5% with some downside risk given the continued slowdown in residential property loans growth and continued policy uncertainty impacting investment-related business loans growth,” analyst Keith Wee Teck Keong said in a report.

On the other hand, gross impaired loans (GIL) improved to 1.45% in December from 1.49% in November.

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