Overall lending by Thai commercial banks increased 4.4 per cent last year, boosted by acceleration in both SME and auto hire-purchase loan expansion late in the year, the Bank of Thailand reported on Monday.
Daranee Saeju, senior director for the central bank’s Financial Institutions Strategy Department, said business credit had risen 3.6 per cent due mainly to a 5.7-per-cent increase in lending to small and medium-sized enterprises, excluding finance businesses.
Business credit accounted for 67 per cent of overall lending, with consumer credit amounting to 33 per cent.
Most large operators, again excluding finance businesses, opted to raise capital through equities and debt instruments rather than credit, and also made debt repayments, which resulted in their credit growth ending the year completely flat, she said.
However, some such as those in the energy, transportation, computer and electronics sectors continued to use more credit, which was in line with growth in Thai exports and tourism, she added.
Consumer credit grew 6.1 per cent last year, due mainly to auto hire purchase’s 8.4-per-cent advance.
Last year’s overall non-performing loans edged up to 2.91 per cent of total lending, from 2.83 per cent in 2016, the senior director reported.