The improving outlook for the local and global economies is giving bosses confidence to increase their borrowing.

Business lending rose in November and is becoming an increasingly bigger share of borrowing overall as buyers retreat from the car loan market.

Total bank lending - consumer and business - hit $565.8 billion in November, up 2.1 per cent compared with October, according to preliminary numbers from the Monetary Authority of Singapore yesterday.

The business part of that was $341.4 billion - 2.8 per cent higher than in October and better than the 2 per cent increase recorded from September to October.

Business loans were also up 23.3 per cent in November over the same month in 2012.

UOB economist Francis Tan noted that this segment of lending is so strong that its share of total loans has risen to 60.3 per cent - the first time it has surpassed 60 per cent since March 2004.

"This could signal that businesses are more optimistic about the future and that's why they're more willing to borrow to invest in capital equipment and even to raise their productivity," Mr Tan added.

DBS economist Irvin Seah noted: "Nothing much has changed. Essentially the trend that we've been seeing is that business loans are growing and boosting total loans."

He said an improvement in business fundamentals has prompted companies to increase lending and work on expansion plans.

Business loans could also be increasing its proportion of total lending because of a slowdown in consumer loan growth.

Consumer loans came in at $224.4 billion in November, up 1 per cent on October.

That is better than the 0.6 per cent growth seen in October over September but well down when comparing the growth rates on a year-on-year basis.

Loan growth in November came in at 9.6 per cent from the same month a year ago, slower than the 10.4 per cent growth in October over October 2012.

Housing and bridging loans, the largest component of consumer lending, rose to $165.9 billion in November, 0.6 per cent higher than in October, a shade below the 0.7 per cent rise from September to October.

Such loans grew 10.4 per cent in November from a year earlier, down from 11.9 per cent in October over the same month the year before.

DBS' Mr Seah said: "The slowdown in housing loan growth reflects the property cooling measures imposed, especially the total debt servicing ratio framework introduced in June, moderating consumer demand."

Car loans, which have been falling throughout 2013, continued that trend, dropping to $10.9 billion in November.

"A large part of the drop in car loans is due to the tighter financing measures introduced in February," said UOB's Mr Tan.