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Banking sector on “course to recovery” as NPAs recede: RBI

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Mumbai: The banking sector is on “course to recovery” as the afflicting non-performing assets recede, but state-run lenders need reforms in governance, Governor Shaktikanta Das said.

The weaker ones among the public sector banks need to be supported through recapitalisation, the Governor said in his foreword to RBI’s half-yearly financial stability report (FSR).

“After a prolonged period of stress, the banking sector appears to be on course to recovery as the load of impaired assets recedes,” Das, who took charge earlier this month after the sudden exit of Urjit Patel, said.

 

He pointed out that the period till September has seen a decline in gross NPA ratios — the first such dip in three years — and also pointed out at improving provision coverage ratio, which is the ability of a bank to withstand stress, as a positive.

According to the FSR, gross NPAs ratio declined to 10.8 per cent in September 2018 from 11.5 per cent in March 2018, while for the state-run lenders, the same improved to 14.8 per cent in September 2018 from close to 15.2 per cent in March 2018.

Under the baseline scenario, the GNPA ratio of all banks may come down to 10.3 per cent by March 2019 from 10.8 per cent in September 2018, the report said.

The Governor said even though the current NPA levels are high, stress tests done by the RBI have pointed to an improvement in the ratio in future. Having done a lot of work on the NPA front, which started with the accelerated recognition through the asset quality review, Das said there is a need for operational improvements at the state-run lenders which account for a bulk of the dud assets.

“The immense effort put in by the stakeholders so far is required to be buttressed with substantive reforms in governance and oversight regime, supported by recapitalisation of weak PSBs,” he said in the comments, which come days after the Centre committed an additional Rs 41,000 crore in FY19 for the recapitalisation.

Eleven of the 20 state-run lenders are under the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework, which restricts their normal lending and is a bone of contention between the conservative regulator and a government that will be facing elections in a few months.

Das, a career bureaucrat who steered the Government’s note ban move from the Finance Ministry, said despite its high costs, the NPA recognition has led to improvements in the operational risk assessment at state-run lenders.

“…it appears to have led to a greater discipline in credit assessment, higher sensitivity to market risk and better appreciation of operational risks,” he said.

Das acknowledged that some of the cases referred for resolution under the two-year-old bankruptcy framework have lagged time-lines, but said the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) will strengthen credit discipline.

“A time-bound resolution of impaired assets will go a long way in unclogging the credit pipeline thus improving the allocative efficiency in the economy,” he said.

Das also touched on the troubled non-bank lending sector, saying the non banking finance companies (NBFCs) need to be more prudent on risk-taking and also underlined the need to rebalance excessive credit growth, especially the one funded by short term liabilities.

The high credit growth is “not stability enhancing”, Das said.

Both the banks as well as non-banks need to be diligent, prudent and follow sound risk management practices as they support the growth needs of the economy, he said.

Das said the slowdown in GDP growth to 7.1 per cent is slower than expected, but pointed out to an uptick in gross fixed capital formation along with the dip in crude oil prices as a positive for a sustained growth going forward.

Globally, the threat of trade war which would have weakened growth prospects has softened, he said. A stricter enforcement of global trade and investment rules could potentially lead to market stability and win-win bargains in trade, Das said.


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Business

Sensex sheds 298.82 to close at 38,811; Nifty shrinks to 11,650

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Mumbai: The benchmark BSE Sensex erased early gains to end 299 points lower Thursday as investors booked profits after stocks soared to record highs after BJP’s strong showing in the Lok Sabha polls.

Sensex and NSE Nifty went on to record highs even as Lok Sabha election results showed that PM Modi-led NDA leading on over 300 seats. However after the euphoria during the morning session, Sensex shed 298.82 to close at 38,811 and Nifty shrank to 11,650 on the closing bell.

During the day, the Sensex hit the 40,000 mark while the Nifty crossed the 12,000-level for the first time ever. However, the indices succumbed to profit booking towards the fag-end of the session.

 

The 30-share Sensex tumbled 298.82 points, or 0.76 per cent, to close at 38,811.39. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty settled 80.85 points, or 0.69 per cent, lower at 11,657.05.

IndusInd Bank was the biggest gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying 5.23 per cent, followed by Hero MotoCorp, Coal India, Yes Bank, PowerGrid, ICICI Bank, HCL Tech, L&T, Kotak Bank and Bharti Airtel, rising up to 1.56 per cent. On the other hand, Vedanta, ITC, Tata Motors, HDFC twins, Bajaj Finance, Sun Pharma, Tata Steel, TCS, ONGC and Infosys fell up to 5.53 per cent.

Riding on a massive Modi wave sweeping through most parts of India, the BJP was set to return to power Thursday as it led in 298 seats while the Congress trailed far behind with 52, according to trends released by the Election Commission for all 542 seats that went to polls.

“Markets were initially enthused to see the election results falling in line with the exit polls. However, the run up to the D-day was so sharp that it turned out to be a sell on news phenomenon,” said Devang Mehta, Head – Equity Advisory, Centrum Wealth Management.

Participants would now be keen to know the future course of action for bringing the economy back on track, solution to the liquidity situation, the union budget, onset and progress of monsoon in June and most importantly the earnings trajectory, he added.

According to traders, weak cues from other global markets and a depreciating rupee also weighed on investor sentiment. The rupee depreciated 37 paise to 70.04 against the US dollar in afternoon trade. Globally, bourses in Asia ended in the red.

Indices in Europe were also trading on a negative note in early deals. Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was trading 1.79 per cent lower at USD 69.72 per barrel.

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Silver up on increased offtake; gold steady

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi: Silver prices rallied by Rs 200 to Rs 37,400 per kg in the national capital on Thursday, while gold held steady, according to the All India Sarafa Association.

Traders said silver prices rose on pick-up in offtake by industrial units and coin makers at the local spot market. Globally, spot gold was trading marginally higher at USD 1,276 an ounce, while silver was slightly up at USD 14.53 an ounce in New York.

In the national capital, gold of 99.9 per cent and 99.5 per cent purity dropped by Rs 10 each to Rs 32,670 per ten 10 gram and Rs 32,500 per 10 gram. Sovereign gold, however, held steady at Rs 26,500 per eight gram.

 

Silver ready surged Rs 200 to Rs 37,400 per kg, while weekly-based delivery fell by Rs 66 to Rs 36,234 per kg. Silver coins held flat at Rs 79,000 for buying and Rs 80,000 for selling of 100 pieces.

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India PC mkt declines 8.3 per cent to 2.15 mn units in Jan-Mar qarter

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi: Personal Computer (PC) shipment in India fell by 8.3 per cent in the January-March quarter of 2019 to 2.15 million units, registering a year-on-year decline for the third consecutive quarter, according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

Besides, big commercial deals, market remained weak due to weak consumer demand, high inventory from previous quarters, and supply issues for Intel chips.

Shipments in the consumer segment saw a 26.5 per cent dip in the said quarter compared to the year-ago period. The commercial PC market saw a total shipment of 1.35 million units in the said quarter, a growth of 7.3 per cent over last year.

 

“The announcement of central elections on March 10, 2019 resulted in the model code of conduct coming into immediate effect further resulting in a delay in execution of government projects and impacting the commercial segment,” IDC said in a statement.

However, IDC expects the overall PC market in India to witness a growth in the second quarter. The commercial market is expected to pick up post new government formation in May, while the consumer market is expected to pick up largely driven by back to school campaign by vendors and online sales.

HP maintained its leadership position with an overall market share of 28.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, followed by Dell (25.9 per cent), Lenovo (25.2 per cent) and Acer (11.7 per cent).

The notebook PC (laptop) category accounted for 61.4 per cent of the shipment and witnessed a 9.8 per cent year-on-year decline.

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