The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) last board meeting in Mumbai continued for hours, the longest in its recent history. Much time was spent discussing the so-called prompt corrective action (PCA) being imposed on 11 public sector banks (PSBs) and the liquidity crunch for non-banking finance companies. This is not that first time that PCA is in the limelight.
In September, after the annual ritual of a review meeting with the chiefs of public sector banks, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that non-performing assets (NPAs) with these banks were on the decline and ~1.8 trillion worth of recovery of bad loans could happen during fiscal year 2019. According to him, in the first quarter of the year, the lenders recovered ~365.
Early last week, the State Bank of India said it would buy up to Rs 300 billion of quality loans from the stressed non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), raising its portfolio purchase plan to Rs 450 billion during 2019. A few other banks will also buy affordable housing loans and loans against property (LAP). Meanwhile, the mortgage regulator has raised its refinance limit to Rs 300 billion to housing finance companies (HFCs) for the July 2018-June 2019 period.
Many analysts are defining the near-collapse of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) as the Lehman moment for India. We need to wait as the scene is still unfolding but some of the non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) are definitely staring at a Northern Rock moment if they do not put their houses in order. In September 2017, the UK retail bank Northen Rock asked the Bank of England, as lender of the last resort, for a liquidity support after it found its access to short-term money market frozen, and a depositor run followed.
Every analyst and her aunt were expecting a quarter percentage point rate hike on Friday but the Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) opted to maintain the status quo. The stance of the policy, however, has been changed, from “neutral” to “a calibrated tightening”, keeping in mind the objective of achieving the medium-term target of 4 per cent retail inflation with (+/-) 2 per cent band. Contrary to widespread expectations, the Indian central bank has not hiked the rate because it sees lower inflation in coming months.
The yield on 364-day treasury Bill now is 7.73% and that of 91-day is 7.18%.