“Breaking Records and Tides: Cambodia’s Consumer Credit Soars to $14.93 Billion in Q3, but Storm Clouds Loom”
In the ever-expanding world of Cambodian consumer credit, the third quarter of 2023 was nothing short of a blockbuster. The total outstanding loan balance surged to a jaw-dropping $14.93 billion. It’s a financial crescendo that leaves you in awe, but as the numbers rise, so do the risks. A staggering 20% hike in overdue payments from July to September, reaching a concerning 4.71%, is a stark reminder that this financial high-wire act isn’t without its challenges, as revealed by the data from the Credit Bureau of Cambodia.
Consumer credit, the financial jigsaw made up of personal finance, mortgage loans, and credit cards, continues to be the fuel that keeps Cambodia’s economic engine humming. The overall loan balance may have seen a modest 1.00% uptick from the previous quarter, but it underscores the unshakable confidence Cambodian consumers have in leveraging credit facilities. The number of consumer loan accounts also rose by 1.78%, reaching a grand total of approximately 1.68 million accounts across the country.
But wait, there’s a wave building on the horizon. A concerning trend, like the rumble before a storm, is the increase in the ratio of 30+ Days Past Due (DPD), which now stands at 4.71%, marking a significant rise from the 3.96% recorded in the second quarter of 2023. This metric, measuring accounts with payments overdue by over a month, is a canary in the credit mine, signaling emerging credit risks and borrowers’ financial stress.
The most significant increase in overdue payments was observed in the Plain region, which saw a whopping 25% escalation, followed by the Tonle Sap, Plateau, and Coastal regions. This surge in late repayments suggests a potential ripple effect that could cast a shadow over the overall financial sector if this trend persists.
Now, as the seas grow rough, it’s fascinating to see the way loans are distributed. Mortgage loans, representing just 12.04% of the total number of loan accounts, account for over half of the total outstanding balance, revealing a substantial average loan size in the property sector. On the flip side, personal finance loans, making up a hefty 79.80% of loan accounts, represent just under 44% of the total loan balance. It’s a fascinating interplay of numbers in this financial symphony.
Amidst the crescendo of financial data, consumer credit applications soared by 11% overall, underscoring the enduring thirst for credit. The Personal Finance and Credit Card sectors witnessed applications soaring by 16% and 25%, respectively, showcasing consumers’ appetite for financial flexibility. In contrast, Mortgage Applications took a 29% dip, signifying a shift in consumer borrowing preferences.
Mr. Oeur Sothearoath, CEO of CBC, shed light on the situation, saying, “The demand for consumer credit in terms of both the number and amount of applications has increased. Consumer credit performance was positive in terms of both the number of loan accounts and loan balance this quarter.” However, he sounded a cautionary note, pointing out that “loan quality dropped with an increase in the 30+ DPD ratio from 3.96% in the second quarter of 2023 to 4.71% in this quarter.”
The final act of 2023 and the first half of 2024 will be pivotal in deciding whether this financial opera can continue its symphonic growth while ensuring the financial well-being of its performers – the borrowers. It’s a delicate balancing act, one that will be pivotal in maintaining Cambodia’s economic stability and growth. As the curtain rises on this critical chapter, the question remains: will Cambodia’s economy continue to hit the high notes, or will the rising tides of overdue payments wash ashore, causing a different kind of credit crisis?