Payment performance of Singapore firms rebounds in 2017, after hitting all-time low : Report

Local firms saw significant improvements in their payment performance in 2017
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Singapore firms saw significant improvements in their payment performance in 2017, after sinking to an all-time low in 2016.

In fact, the annual average proportion of prompt payments (when 90% or more of total bills are paid within the agreed payment terms) rose to 48.4% in 2017, up from 43.77% the preceding year, revealed the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB) in a statement on Jan 16.

These payments accounted for about 50% of all payment transactions according to the latest quarterly statistics for Q4 2017, evidencing signs of improvement.

Partial payments (when between 50% and 90% of total bills are paid within the agreed payment terms) also rose to a seven-year high of 11.87% in 2017.

Meanwhile, the annual average proportion of slow payments (when less than 50% of total bills are paid within the agreed terms) fell from 44.71% in 2016 to 39.71% in 2017.

Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau

When looking across sectors, the construction sector experienced the highest proportion of payment delays.

In Q4 2011, the sector experienced payment delays which accounted for nearly 60% of total transactions – a new record after six years.

Meanwhile, the retail sector registered the lowest proportion of payment delays, and this can be attributed to the steep decline in slow payments by retailers of food and beverage as well as fashion apparels.

“Despite the cashflow woes experienced by local firms, we are seeing more firms fulfilling their debt obligations partially if not fully,” said D&B Singapore’s chief executive Ms Audrey Chia in a statement.

“Partial payments are always better than non-payments. This reflects a healthy sign that firms are exercising better credit vigilance and putting stringent controls in place to ensure they remain creditworthy in the eyes of their credits and not to default completely on their debts”.