Investor lending dominates borrowings: CommSec’s Savanth Sebastian

Private sector credit rose by 0.3 percent in February after a 0.2 percent gain in January. Annual credit growth of 5.0 percent is near 3-year lows.

Investor housing: Investor housing finance lifted by 0.6 per cent in February to stand 6.7 per cent higher over the year – the fastest growth in 12 months.

China data: The National Bureau of Statistics manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose from 51.6 to 51.8 in March while the services gauge rose from 54.2 to 55.1 – a near 3-year high.

What does it all mean?

The latest lending (private sector credit) figures suggest a subdued borrowing environment. But it is important to point out that lending recorded the biggest lift in 15 months in December and only partially gave back some of that out-sized growth over January and February. The subdued February reading was largely due to a modest slide in business credit which would be expected given the out-sized gain in December. The key will be how business borrowing performs in coming months.