Linkflow Capital: Singapore SMEs’ access to financing improved in 2019

In their annual SME financing research conducted by Linkflow Capital, SMEs continued to see improved access to financing in 2019.

According to Linkflow Capital, up to 39% of SMEs gained access to financing in 2019. This figure has continued to improve since the company started tracking data from 2017, from 19% in 2017 to 34% in 2018.

Research data and statistics are derived from Linkflow Capital’s SME loan comparison portal launched in 2017. For this latest survey, data was generated from over 2436 unique users for the period January to December 2019.

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“In 2019, our dataset suggests a slight improvement for SMEs attempting to secure business financing, with up to 39% of our portal users eligible indicatively for financing, up from 34% in 2018.” said Ben Teo, a spokesperson for Linkflow Capital.

“2019 was a challenging year with the looming backdrop of a US-China trade war and sluggish GDP growth of 0.7% in 2019, the slowest in a decade. Despite these conditions, we did not see major adverse impact in credit tightening for SME financing, although overall business loan growth dipped slightly from 2018,” he continued.

Consistent from the data in 2017 and 2018, the major reason why most SMEs are not able to access financing continues to be a combination of low revenue and poor cash flow.

Presently, the elephant in the room will obviously be COVID-19 and, more specifically, its impact on SME financing availability. Although this research is predominantly based on 2019’s data, flash figures for the period January to May 2020 have been included as well to form a basis how 1st half 2020 might pan out for the SME financing landscape amidst the backdrop of Covid-19.

Crossing the halfway mark of 2020, the world is fraught with rising uncertainties with risks of deglobalization and political friction between major world economies.

Singapore’s GDP forecast for 2020 has been revised to -0.7% to -0.4%, possibly the worst showing since independence.

The Government has provided much support for SMEs to cushion COVID-19’s economic damage, including financing schemes to support SME lending. It is now critical for businesses to pivot and adapt agilely to sustain and grow through this challenging phase.