Bank lending picks up further in January: BSP

BANK lending expanded for the sixth consecutive month in January, based on the latest data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Monday.Outstanding loans of universal and commercial banks, net of reverse repurchase payments with the BSP, expanded by 8.5 percent in January from the revised 4.8 percent in December, the central bank said in a statement.“Bank lending improved further as easing Covid-19 restrictions and the continuous vaccine rollout supported market sentiment and demand,” BSP said.On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, outstanding universal and commercial bank loans rose three percent, it added.Metro Manila and 38 other areas were placed under Alert Level 1 beginning March 1, which means more room for economic activities. The whole Cebu, meanwhile, remains under Alert 2 from March 1-15.The BSP said it would continue to support the economy to sustain recovery in credit activity amid the uncertainty in the growth outlook.“Stronger signs of recovery in overall economic activity will allow the BSP to carefully plan for the eventual normalization of its pandemic-related interventions when conditions warrant, in line with its price and financial stability mandates,” it said.The central bank kept the benchmark borrowing rate at two percent during its last policy meeting. (CSL with PR)