Asset quality will remain a negative driver of the credit profiles of most rated Indian banks
GN Bureau | January 9, 2017
Moody's Investors Service and its Indian affiliate, ICRA Limited, see subdued prospects for India's banks, with both identifying asset deterioration as a key challenge over the medium term.
"Asset quality will remain a negative driver of the credit profiles of most rated Indian banks and the stock of impaired loans. Non-performing loans (NPLs) and standard restructured loans will still rise during the horizon of our outlook," says Alka Anbarasu, Moody's vice president and senior analyst.
According to Moody's, such pressure on asset quality largely reflects the system's legacy problems, as relating to the strong credit growth seen in 2009-2012, when the investment plans of Indian corporates rose significantly.
Nevertheless, aside from these legacy issues, the underlying asset trend for Indian banks will be stable because of a generally supportive operating environment. While corporate balance sheets stay weak, a further deterioration in key credit metrics such as debt/equity and interest coverage ratios has been arrested, says a Moody’s statement issued in Singapore on Monday.
"We expect the pace of deterioration in asset quality over the next 12-18 months should be lower than what was seen over the last five years, and especially compared to FY2016, even as we consider those remaining problem loans which have not been recognized as such in several large accounts," says Anbarasu.
In this context, Moody's also considers the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) asset quality review (AQR) in 2015 as a particularly important catalyst in pushing banks to recognize some large accounts as being impaired. As a result, Moody's now estimates that the "true" level of impaired loans for Indian banks to be around 1-1.5 percentage points higher than the latest reported numbers.
Given the magnitude of stressed assets in the system, Moody's expects the banks to increase their focus on resolving some of the large problem accounts.
"In this regard, we expect an increased pace of debt restructuring under the various schemes offered by the RBI, including the scheme for the sustainable structuring of stressed assets (S4A), strategic debt restructuring (SDR) and the 5:25 scheme," says Anbarasu.
"Nevertheless, weak reserving levels and continued pressure on profitability will limit the ability of the banks to proactively resolve problem assets under these schemes."
From ICRA's viewpoint, a muted level of credit off-take -- on the back of weak demand, increasing competition and greater disintermediation -- will continue to exert downward pressure on lending rates.
"Such a development will be partly offset by the fall in the cost of funds, but stubbornly high operating expense levels and elevated credit costs will continue to dent profitability matrices for the banks," says Karthik Srinivasan, ICRA senior vice president.
"And while bank profitability is not expected to be as weak as the levels seen in FY2016, the weakness in asset quality will continue to drag on profitability indicators, with return on equity remaining in the single digits for FY2017 and FY2018," says Srinivasan.
The Indian government's current plan of infusing Rs 450 billion during FY2017-FY2019 -- of which Rs 164.14 billion have been already infused in the current year -- is below ICRA's estimates of capital requirements of Rs 1,500-1,800 billion until FY2017-FY2019.
Saturday Stories By Rashmi Bansal HarperCollins, 176 pages, Rs 250 From the bestselling author of ‘Stay Hu
Oracle has showcased new AI-powered capabilities within Oracle Analytics Cloud. Leveraging the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Generative AI service, the new capabilities assist analytics self-service users to more quickly and efficiently conduct sophisticated analysis and make better business decisions
The domestic aviation industry has witnessed a remarkable surge in passenger traffic during the first eight months of 2023. According to the latest data analysis, the number of passengers carried by domestic airlines from January to August 2023 reached an impressive 1190.62 lakhs, marking a substantial inc
A function was organised in the Central Hall of Parliament on Tuesday to commemorate the rich legacy of the Parliament of India as the Members came together to bid adieu to the historical building before stepping into the New Building of Parliament. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha sp
As politicians and policymakers make speeches at the United Nations during a high-level summit next week to assess the lack of progress on the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), people’s leaders representing some of the world’s most marginalised communities have come toge
The fourth G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) meeting held in Mumbai during September 14-16 concluded with members agreeing to work towards the vision of universal financial inclusion under the new G20 Financial Inclusion Action Plan. Over the course of three days, discuss