According to central bank’s senior director of the Financial Institutions Strategy Department, Mr Don Nakornthab; The Bank of Thailand foresees the overall net earnings of the banking industry this year falling for a second consecutive year, due to a combination of the ongoing high level of loan-loss provisioning and recent lending-rate cut.
Loans to small and medium-sized enterprises grew by just 2.5 per cent, compared to 5.6 per cent last year, yet Loan-loss provisioning in the first quarter increased from Bt34 billion in the fourth quarter of last year, in line with the rise in banking sector non-performing loans (NPLs), mainly among SMEs.
In the first quarter, NPLs of both corporate and SME borrowers in the commercial segment increased to Bt82.6 billion, from Bt71.8 billion at the end of last year.
At the end of the first quarter, total NPLs in the banking industry amounted to Bt357.4 billion, up Bt19.9 billion from the previous quarter, with gross NPLs rising to to 2.61 per cent from 2.55 per cent during the three months.
He also Added that the industry is also expected to set aside further high loan-loss reserves as a cushion for the unexpected and to cope with the ongoing increase in NPLs, chiefly among SME customers. Don said the level of NPLs was an indicator of the slower recovery of the economy, with NPLs among SMEs on an upward trend, especially among enterprises in the commercial segment, where businesses are affected by weak domestic consumption.
Source : The Nation