The Bank of Thailand yesterday said that the disparity between its report on the amount of lending by commercial banks in the first two months of the year and the figures from the banks themselves was largely due to the different calculation methods they
Earlier this month, the BOT reported that the banks’ nominal loan amount had increased from the end of February 2013 to the end of February this year. However, in recent weeks, a few commercial banks have reported a loan deficit for the first quarter of 2014 instead.
Roong Mallikamas, spokeswoman of the central bank, said: “The reports on the loan amount are not conflicting, because the methods of comparison are different.”
She explained that when the central bank compared the loan amount, it looked at the total lending amount in the entire system, which includes lending by all the commercial banks plus specialised financial institutions (SFIs).
“The BOT concentrates on the amount that enters the economic system, while commercial banks only concentrate on the commercial part, which leads to a small disparity in the statistical results,” she said.
The timeframe used to compare the loan amount by the commercial banks is also different from that of the BOT, in that the banks’ comparison is based from quarter to quarter while the central bank does a year-on-year comparison.
Another difference is that some commercial banks already have their loan numbers for three months, but the BOT report is only based on the first two months of the year, she said.
Roong said that for the first two months of the year, the loan amount of commercial banks and SFIs had increased by 0.3 per cent or Bt40 billion when compared to the same period last year, and the total amount was Bt14.7 trillion.
The expansion was largely due to the increase in lending by SFIs, and not by commercial banks, she added.
The number represents small lending growth, but this is normal since loans generally tend to be lower at the beginning of each year, she said, pointing out also that there had also been huge loan growth in recent years following the recovery of the commercial banks since the financial crisis in 1997.
Commercial banks ‘recovering’
“Commercial banks are much stronger now after having recovered from the crisis in 1997 and, after 2007, loan growth increased substantially until last year – which made the growth in the first two months seem smaller when compared to recent years,” the spokeswoman said.
Meanwhile, in regard to an increase in the number of bounced cheques, Roong said the number had actually fallen month-on-month from January to February, from 76,583 cases to 61,202.
However, when comparing the number of cases from the first half of 2013 with the first two months of this year, the amount had risen by 0.32 per cent.
According to the BOT website, there were 191,601 cases of cheques bouncing in the second quarter of 2013, which had increased to 204,753 cases amounting to Bt33.65 million in the first quarter of this year.
An increase in the number of bounced cheques can be used as a microeconomic indicator that business operators and individuals are having difficulty with their cash flow.
However, Roong said the current increase was in line with the slowdown of the economy, and was not worrying since the rise was minimal.