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Health of banks worsened in past six months: RBI

PTI | Last Updated: Monday, December 30, 2013 - 12:25

Mumbai: With stressed assets continuing to rise and expected to get worse, the Reserve Bank has cautioned that risks to the banking system have increased over the last six months, but added that there are no systemic risks at the moment.

"The banking stability indicator shows that risks to the banking sector have increased since June 2013," the Reserve Bank said in its half-yearly Financial Stability Report released Monday.

The indicator combines the impact on all major risk dimensions, said the RBI, which has carried out multiple tests before coming to this conclusion.

"The strain on asset quality continues to be a major concern," the report said.

With the present conditions continuing, the gross NPAs in the system will rise to 4.6 percent by September 2014 from 4.2 percent in September 2013 or about Rs 2.29 trillion from Rs 1.67 trillion a year earlier, it said.

The amount of recast loans touched an all-time high of 4 trillion or 10.2 percent of the overall advances as of September 2013, the report added.

However, the RBI expects some positives in the second half of the next fiscal and is estimating gross NPAs to improve to 4.4 percent by March 2015.

In case the economic conditions deteriorate, the same number will be 7 percent by March 2015, the RBI warned.

The state-run banks will be the worst-affected, the report said, pegging the GNPAs for public sector banks at 4.9 percent by March 2015. It projected the GNPAs for private banks at 2.7 percent in the same period.

If the restructured assets are added, the total stressed advances ratio will rise to 10.2 percent as of September 2013 from the 9.2 percent in March 2013, the RBI said.

The report reiterates that RBI will discontinue the system of relaxed restructuring of advances from 2015 onwards and warned that state-run banks will be affected the most as the provisions will shoot up.

"The regulatory concerns regarding restructuring arises from the possibility of the relaxations not being used judiciously by banks commensurate with the viability of projects. These relaxations for asset classification/ provisioning will be phased out by April 2015," it said.

The report said though agriculture accounted for the highest GNPAs at 5.5 per cent as of the quarter to September 2013, it is the industrial sector with a GNPA of 4.9 per cent and 10.9 per cent of restructured loans which is the main culprit.

Among the sectors, it said infrastructure, iron and steel, aviation, textiles and mining, which have not been doing well, will continue to perform badly. "Some factors affecting the asset quality adversely are current economic slowdown -- global and domestic - persistent policy logjams, delayed clearances of various projects, aggressive expansion by corporates during the boom phase with resultant excess capacities and deficiencies in credit appraisal," it said.

The central bank also said that present levels of provisioning for loan losses by banks may not be sufficient to meet the expected losses if the conditions were to deteriorate.

First Published: Monday, December 30, 2013 - 12:16
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