MANILA — Total outstanding loans of commercial banks, thrift banks and rural banks in February at P1.967 trillion grew by 7.7 percent compared to the 9.4 percent increase registered in January. The growth in bank lending, however, nearly doubled from the 3.9 percent growth registered during the comparable month in 2006. On a seasonally- adjusted basis, month-on-month data reflected a 1.5 percent decline in bank lending from a 0.3 percent growth in the previous month.
The momentum in bank lending continued to be driven by loans to the financial institutions, real estate and business services (15.8 percent), and community, social, and personal services (13.7 percent) sectors. Likewise, significant expansions were noted in agriculture (5.9 percent) and wholesale and retail trade (5.0 percent), while growth in construction and transportation, storage and communication remained in positive territory. Meanwhile, outstanding loans to the manufacturing, utilities and mining and quarrying sectors declined by 1.3 percent, 4.4 percent and 20.7 percent, respectively.
Monetary authorities will continue to monitor closely developments in bank lending given its importance as major channel of monetary policy and a medium for non-inflationary growth. (BSP)