* Ratio below 3% for four consecutive months
MANILA, Philippines - The central bank reported Friday that commercial banks' non-performing loan (NPL) ratio in May was back to pre-Asian financial crisis levels.
The bad loan ratio eased to 2.8% in May from 2.95% in April, marking the fourth month in a row that the ratio was below 3%.
"This ratio matches the end-December 1996 ratio, which was the lowest prior to the 1997 Asian crisis," Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said in a statement.
Total loan portfolio reached P2.93 trillion in May, up 3.5% from April and 14% from a year earlier.
Bad loans net of interbank loans eased to 2.99% of total loans in May from 3.16% in April and year ago's 3.7%.
Also, commercial banks' loan growth during the month net of reverse repurchase deals reached 18.8%, the highest since April 2009.