RBI Governor announces First Quarter Review of Monetary Policy 2009-10
RBI Governor Dr. D. Subba Rao has released the First Quarter Review of Monetary Policy 2009-10 in the light of the macroeconomic developments so far.
Bankers generally welcomed the Reserve Bank's policy stance. They felt that the status quo on policy rates would anchor interest rate expectations that could spur investment demand. They indicated that they are seeing signs of revival in the domestic economy and expect credit demand to pick up in the second half of the year. In this context, I emphasised the need to increase the flow of credit, particularly to agriculture and micro, small and medium enterprises.
Banks were concerned that their liability structure is getting shorter with the reduction in the term structure of deposits, while the asset structure is getting elongated on account of the increasing share of long-term loans, particularly infrastructure. Several banks also indicated that the share of current and savings (CASA) deposits has been declining, which would put pressure on their net interest margins (NIM).
As regards credit quality, banks were of the view that non-performing assets (NPAs) are expected to increase, particularly, in the unsecured segments, although they will remain manageable. Going forward, public sector banks emphasised the need for raising capital as risk-weighted assets expand in their asset portfolio.
The global economy is showing incipient signs of stabilisation, albeit not recovery. The pace of decline in economic activity in several major advanced economies has slowed, frozen credit markets have thawed and equity markets have begun to recover. Recent months have also witnessed industrial activity reviving in a number of emerging market economies. Notwithstanding some positive signs, the path and the time horizon for global recovery remain uncertain in the light of subdued consumption demand, increased unemployment levels and in anticipation of further contraction in global trade and private capital flows.
Business and consumer confidence are yet to show definitive signs of revival but the financial sector appears to be stabilising in response to concerted actions taken by governments and central banks across the world, economic recession in the real sector persists. According to the latest assessment by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the global economy is projected to shrink by 1.4 per cent in 2009 before recovering and expanding by 2.5 per cent in 2010. The IMF, however, upgraded the growth outlook for developing Asia citing improved prospects in China and India.
The Crisis and India
The Indian economy experienced a significant slowdown in 2008-09, in comparison with the robust growth performance in the preceding five years, largely due to the knock-on effect of the global financial crisis. India's exports contracted during eight straight months which, in turn, impacted the industrial sector and the services sector. The financial sector, however, remained relatively unaffected despite the severe stress created by the global deleveraging process, which triggered capital outflows in the second half of 2008-09.