We in the western world have got used to problems with our banking system but yesterday highlighted that we are far from alone. From the Reserve Bank of India.
The Reserve Bank of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India are closely monitoring recent developments in financial markets and are ready to take appropriate actions, if necessary.
This morning we have seen the government also trying to calm matters.
MUMBAI: Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday the government is ready to ensure credit is available to non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), just a day after the market regulator and the central bank sought to calm skittish investors. ( Economic Times of India).
There are a variety of factors at play here but the common denominator is the shadow banking sector.
Here there were signs of trouble on Friday as the central bank intervened. From Reuters.
Indian private sector lender Yes Bank Ltd’s shares tumbled nearly a third on Friday, wiping as much as $3.1 billion off its market value, after the central bank reduced charismatic CEO Rana Kapoor’s term, creating uncertainty about its outlook.
Using the word “charismatic” to describe a banker is a warning sign in itself but events here were being driven by this.
Yes Bank’s bad loans spiked in October last year after a risk-based supervision exercise by the central bank forced the lender to account for 63.55 billion rupees ($881.1 million) more in the non-performing category. Kapoor had termed it a “temporary setback” and said remedial steps were underway.
Ah temporary we know what that means especially in banking circles! Yes Bank is the fifth biggest private-sector bank in India and seems to have fallen victim to the effort described below.
Indian banks have seen a surge in soured loans that hit a record $150 billion at the end of March and stricter rules enforced by the central bank are expected to have pushed the industry’s non-performing loans even higher.
So as we note that Yes Bank had been rather too enthusiastic in living up to its name we see that others were competing with it. Somewhat bizarrely it would appear that the RBI is dealing with the private banks because it feels it cannot do so with the state-owned ones.
Earlier this year, RBI chief Urjit Patel said the central bank had limited authority over state-run banks that account for the bulk of bad loans in the sector, and called for reforms to give the regulator more powers to police such lenders.
At a time like this we have learned to be very wary of mergers where the reality is often very different from the claims. From News18.
The merger of Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank by the government poses short-term challenges like spurt in bad assets, but will be beneficial over a longer term, a report said today.
Slippages may increase in the short-term as recognition of non-performing assets is harmonised and accelerated, India Ratings said in a note.
By contrast The Times of India appears to have taken up cheerleading.
Made in Baroda, now poised to merge and take on the world
Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd
This morning the focus is especially on IL&FS which as Bloomberg explains below has been struggling for a while now.
Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. an Indian conglomerate that has missed payment on more than five of its obligations since August, is seeking to raise more than 300 billion rupees ($4.2 billion) selling assets to cut debt, according to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg.
This is a particular problem because as ever with banking issues the fear is of contagion.
Investors are concerned that defaults by IL&FS, which has total debt of $12.6 billion — 61 percent in the form of loans from financial institutions — could spread to other shadow banks in Asia’s third-largest economy. The firm, which helped fund India’s longest highway tunnel, hasn’t been able to pay more than 4.9 billion rupees ($68 million) of its obligations this year and has additional dues of about 2.2 billion rupees to be repaid by end of October, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
If we move to the wider shadow banking sector or as India calls them non banking financial companies ( NBFCs) then according to the Economic Times of India we have seen some contagion hints.
The sell-off was sparked by news that a large fund manager sold short-term bonds issued by Indian NBFC Dewan Housing Finance Corp at a sharp discount, raising fears of wider liquidity problem among NBFCs.
DHFC was as high as 679 Rupees at the beginning of the month but in spite of a bounce back rally today it is now at 400.
Bad Debts at Indian banks
The Financial Stability Report of June 26th posted a warning shot.
The stress in the banking sector continues as gross non-performing advances (GNPA) ratio rises further……. SCBs’ GNPA ratio may rise from 11.6 per cent in March 2018 to 12.2 per cent by March 2019………… eleven public sector banks under prompt corrective action framework (PCA PSBs) may experience a worsening of their GNPA
ratio from 21.0 per cent in March 2018 to 22.3 per cent, with six PCA PSBs likely experiencing capital shortfall relative to the required minimum CRAR of
9 per cent.
Sorry for all the acronyms and SCB stands for Scheduled Commercial Banks.
As Reuters reported in May perhaps more of this will be needed.
When the Indian government announced a surprise $32 billion bailout plan for the nation’s state-controlled banks last October, credit rating firms and the nation’s central bank saw it as a huge step to getting the industry back to robust health – and lending more to businesses and consumers.
Yet the reality as you will have seen already has been one of disappointment.
There has been some extraordinary action here in the credit crunch era. According to the RBI house price growth averaged around 15% between 2011 and 2017. Prices are around two and a half times what they were at the beginning of that period. So you might think that the banks are safe. But maybe the times they are a-changing as The Hindu reported in July.
Residential property prices have dropped by up to 15 per cent in Mumbai, NCR, Pune and Kolkata in the first half of 2018 despite government incentives and reduced prices as developers battle with unsold inventory that will take another three years to clear up, Knight Frank said today.
We will have to wait a while for the official data but should we see a dip we will find out which lenders were assuming it would only be up,up and away.
On the face of it the weekend brought some good economic news for India as Fitch Ratings forecast that GDP would rise at an annual rate of 7.8% next year. In what is a poor country in isolation that is very welcome. But the ratings agencies were also optimistic for the western world before our banks hit the “trouble,trouble,trouble” of Taylor Swift.
In terms of bad economic news then it can be encapsulated in the way that Brent Crude Oil has risen above US $80 per barrel this morning. As well as the inflationary impact India is an oil importer so the balance of payments will be hit again by this. No doubt this has been a factor in the weakening of the Rupee through 70 versus the US Dollar (72.6 as I type this) which adds to the inflation problem. Should the RBI respond to this with another interest-rate increase then we see that there is a chain of tightening going on inside India’s financial sector. Can it take the strain?