Performance and Growth

STRONGER PEFORMANCE IN 2004

The financial services industry in Singapore chalked up stronger growth in 2004, expanding by 6% for the year, compared with 4.3% in 2003. The improvement came largely on the back of stronger performances in the foreign exchange (FX) and fund management industries, while the sharp turnaround in insurance-related activities also provided support. Offshore banking activity performed well during the year, with loans in the non-bank and interbank markets expanding by 12% and 13% respectively. However, overall financial services was weighed down somewhat by weaknesses in the domestic banking and stock broking industries.

Loans to non-bank customers in the domestic banking industry expanded by a slower 4.5% in 2004, compared with 6.3% in the preceding year. Apart from stronger lending to the commerce segment and to non-bank financial institutions, loans to most other segments were generally weaker over the year. In the financial markets, the domestic stock market saw markedly slower activity, with turnover volume falling by 18% from the previous year to reach a monthly average trading volume of 14.9 billion. In comparison, FX turnover posted a robust 29.8% expansion to a daily average of US$154.9 billion. Activity in the fund management industry was also supported by the increasing attractiveness of Asian equities, particularly to institutional investors.