Singapore firms make fewer slow payments in 1Q18; even hardest-hit construction sector improves

  • Singapore’s construction sector recorded the highest percentage of delayed bill payments for the ninth consecutive quarter, but the overall payment performance of local firms got off to a strong start in 1Q18.
  • All payment indicators showed improvement, according to a report on 3 Apr from the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB).
  • Prompt payments rose by 0.8% from 50.40% in 4Q17 to 51.20% in 1Q18. On a y/y basis, they climbed by a more visible 5.76% from 45.44% in 1Q17. Prompt payment refers to when 90% of total bills are paid within the agreed payment terms.
  • Slow payments, meanwhile, dropped moderately by 1.18% q/q from 36.92% in 4Q17 to 35.74% in 1Q18. On a y/y basis, they fell by a bigger 7.07% from 42.81% in 1Q17.
  • Partial payments hit a near six-year high, edging up from 12.68% in 4Q17 to 13.06% in 1Q18, which further reflects the greater emphasis which firms have placed in fulfilling their debts partially if not completely.
  • Slow payments fell on a q/q basis for three of the five industries surveyed, namely the construction, manufacturing and wholesale industries. Two industries – retail and services – made more slow payments than in 4Q17, compared to one industry in the 4Q17 survey.
  • The construction sector – while still the most guilty sector for delayed payments – showed notable improvement. Its level of slow payments dropped 7.69% from 56.83% in 4Q17 to 49.14% in 1Q18.
  • Among sectors, the services and manufacturing industries ranked second and third, after construction, for most delayed payments with levels of 38.19% and 36.88% respectively.

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