Demonetisation, GST to transform India, NPAs key risk: RBI

Business Standard By Press Trust of India December 29, 2016. 19:00 IST

RBI said that banking stability indicator shows that risks to the banking sector remained elevated.

Outside RBI Headquarters in Mumbai. Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar

RBI today said GST and demonetisation have the potential to transform the economy, "notwithstanding some inconvenience to public and momentary adverse impact on growth", even as it flagged elevated risks due to continuous deterioration in banks' asset quality.

It also observed that while the financial performance of the corporate sector has improved in 2016-17, the risk of lower turnover remains. It also said large borrowers registered significant deterioration in their asset quality.

"The measures such as transition to the nationwide GST and the withdrawal of legal tender status of specified bank notes (old Rs 500/1000) could potentially transform the domestic economy, notwithstanding some inconvenience to public and the momentary adverse impact on growth," RBI said.

These observations were made in the Report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India 2015-16 (RTP) and the 14th issue of the Financial Stability Report (FSR).

In his foreword to FSR, RBI Governor Urjit Patel said the withdrawal of Rs 500/1000 notes "will impart far reaching changes going forward".

"It is expected to significantly transform the domestic economy in due course in terms of greater intermediation, efficiency gains, accountability and transparency through increasing adoption of digital modes of payments, notwithstanding the short-term disruptions in certain segments of the economy and public hardship," he said.

The Governor also cautioned that there is "little room" for complacency and it is important to guard against sporadic volatility in financial markets.

RBI further said that the banking stability indicator shows that the risks to the banking sector remained elevated due to continuous deterioration in asset quality, low profitability and liquidity.

The business growth of banks remained subdued with public sector banks (PSBs) continuing to lag their private sector peers. System level profit after tax (PAT) contracted on y-o-y basis in the first half of 2016-17.

The asset quality of banks deteriorated further between March and September 2016. PSBs continued to record the lowest capital to risk-weighted assets ratio (CRAR) among the bank groups with negative returns on their assets.

"The GNPA (gross non-performing advances) ratio of SCBs increased to 9.1 per cent in September 2016 from 7.8 per cent in March 2016, pushing the overall stressed advances ratio to 12.3 per cent from 11.5 per cent.

"The large borrowers registered significant deterioration in their asset quality," said the central bank.

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