MANILA - Bank lending expanded further for the 6th consecutive month in January, according to the latest data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Monday.
Outstanding loans of universal and commercial banks, net of reverse repurchase payments with the BSP expanded by 8.5 percent in January from the revised 4.8 percent in December, the BSP said in a statement.
"Bank lending improved further as easing COVID-19 restrictions and the continuous vaccine rollout supported market sentiment and demand," the central bank said.
On a month-on-month seasonally-adjusted basis, outstanding universal and commercial bank loans rose by 3 percent, it added.
Metro Manila and 38 other areas will be placed under Alert Level 1 beginning March 1, which means more room for economic activities.
The BSP said it would continue to support the economy in order to sustain recovery in credit activity amid the uncertainty in the growth outlook.
"Stronger signs of recovery in overall economic activity will allow the BSP to carefully plan for the eventual normalization of its pandemic-related interventions when conditions warrant, in line with its price and financial stability mandates," it said.
The BSP has kept the benchmark borrowing rate at 2 percent in its last policy meeting but analysts are expecting the central bank to start easing stimulus placed during the pandemic.
BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the central bank still has room to "maneuver" and that they are keeping their eyes on the US Federal Reserve.