- Leading loan indicators revived in January 2013. Loans applications have swung back to positive growth at 10.9% in January 2013, following four months of contraction. Similarly, loans approved grew 6.2%, after seven consecutive months of decline.
- Robust household segment. The revival was contributed by a robust household segment, although this may be partly due to a low base effect given that January 2012 was more subdued as a result of the Chinese New Year holidays then. Nevertheless, the household segment loans applied growth was much stronger at 51.9% in January 2013, following a flat 1.6% rise in December 2012. Household loans approved spiked up to 47.5% in January 2013 from -4.4% in December 2012.
- Industry loans growth was better at 11.3% in January 2013, vs. 10.4% in December 2012. Retail loans’ (65.3% of total loans) growth was stronger at 13.1% vs. 12.8% in the previous month. The stronger growth came from the non-residential mortgage, residential mortgage, and working capital segments. Corporate loans growth was also better at 8.0% vs. 6.1% in December 2012. Bank Negara said that, on a monthly basis, business loans recorded a moderation following large repayments during the month, despite loan disbursement to businesses remaining strong.
- Gross impaired loans recorded a marginal MoM uptick by RM212mil or 1.0% in January 2013. This was likely due to the seasonally slower repayment trend in the beginning of the year, as reflected by the increases arising mostly from the household or retail segment. For the corporate segment, the only segment recording an uptick this time was in construction. However, gross impaired loans ratio remained unchanged at 2.0% in January 2013 vs. 2.0% in December 2012. Loan loss cover remained high at 99.0% vs. 100.4% in December 2012. Given the relatively marginal upticks, we remain unperturbed.
- Maintain overweight. January 2013’s leading indicators exhibited signs of revival, led by a robust household segment. Our top picks are AFG, CIMB and RHB Cap.