In this month's analysis advice, we take a look at how the series of decreasing retail sales will cause MAS to lighten or revoke the loan rule
July 2014 Monthly Analysis: MAS to revoke loan curb PHOTO:

Singapore's retail performance in April has been hit by yet another dive, down by nine percent compared to the same period a year ago. This is partly due to the dwindling sales performance posted by the motor vehicle segment, which plunged 36.1 percent from last year.

Since the inception of loan curb rules imposed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), sales of motor vehicles have been constantly declining. The loan curb has a profound and deep impact on car buyers - especially the middle to lower income group, due to the high amount of downpayment (up to 50 percent depending on the OMV of the car) required for any car purchase.

This acts as a direct blow to the overall retail performance. And in many cases, such as during last November, retail sales would have grown if car sales were excluded.

There is no doubt that the weakening figures have clouded the overall retail outlook.

Compared to the previous loan curb, where the loan-to-value ratio was pegged at 70 percent, current rules state a maximum loan of 50 percent.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has reaffirmed that although the new loan rules are 'harsher' than before, the Government is well aware that there are people who really need a car, and hence, the loan curb will only be temporal.

In addition, with an influx of COE supply expected in the following months, premiums may hit a new low. Recently, we have seen various implementations by the Government to iron out fluctuations in COE prices. As such, the authorities may end up loosening loan rules to drive up demand of new cars and stabilise the market.

While the previous loan curb lasted from February 1995 to January 2003 - a total of eight years - there is a possibility the current one will not last as long.