All stories by Manojit Saha
Monetary policy making: 2022 was year of reset, 2023 could be a long pauseRediff.com29 Dec 2022
The year 2022 saw the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) start acting on the policy repo rate after a gap of two years. The six-member monetary policy committee of the RBI reduced interest rate sharply - by 115 bps - when Covid-19 struck in 2020. In March 2020, days after the nationwide lockdown was announced, MPC in an unscheduled meeting reduced the repo rate by 75 bps, followed by another 40 bps in May. Status quo was maintained for the next two years since the May repo rate hike.
Banks' balance sheet grows in double digits after 7 years: RBI reportRediff.com28 Dec 2022
The health of Indian banks continued to improve in 2021-22 with their balance sheet growing at double digits after a gap of seven years and their asset quality and capital position bettering, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in its annual report on trend and progress of banking in India. At the same time, the banking regulator flagged the issue of slippages from restructured accounts. "Going forward, it is imperative that banks ensure due diligence and robust credit appraisal to limit credit risk," the report said.
MPC members voiced different views on interest rateRediff.com23 Dec 2022
The members of the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI's) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voiced different views on the interest rate and stance, with two of them indicating they may not vote for further rate increases even if Governor Shaktikanta Das and Deputy Governor Michael Patra maintain bringing down inflation as their primary objective, the minutes of the December review of the monetary policy showed. The other two members remained neutral. The MPC increased the policy repo rate by 35 basis points (bps) - which was lower than the previous three hikes of 50 bps. The repo rate has been hiked by 225 bps to 6.25 per cent since May this year.
Can RBI's digital currency replace physical cash?Rediff.com15 Dec 2022
Despite the demonetisation of 2016 and the rise in digital transactions that followed, the economy's dependence on cash has remained as high as ever. So when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced a pilot project of its version of digital cash - called the central bank digital currency (CBDC) - on December 1, many questions were asked. Can the CBDC replace physical cash, even partially? Can it match cash in terms of convenience? Are CBDC transactions truly anonymous?
How Punjab & Sind Bank plans to boost depositsRediff.com15 Dec 2022
State-owned Punjab & Sind Bank is targeting salary accounts to boost the share of low-cost deposits. Swarup Saha, managing director and chief executive officer of the New Delhi-based lender, tells Manojit Saha that the bank may see gross non-performing assets (NPAs) fall below 8 per cent if there is resolution of the stressed assets.
e-Rupee: RBI creates Rs 1.71 crore of digital currency for retail pilotRediff.com2 Dec 2022
The pilot project for central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the retail segment went live on Thursday with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issuing Rs 1.71 crore to four participating banks based on their indents. The central bank has identified four banks for the first phase of the pilot - State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank and IDFC First Bank - in four cities, Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Bhubaneswar. The highest indent was received from one private sector bank.
'Inflation will go below 6% in a couple of quarters'Rediff.com28 Oct 2022
'We have delivered a bitter medicine. It will take time to work.'
Rupee trade: Two Russian banks get RBI nod for special vostro accountRediff.com29 Sep 2022
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given its approval to two Russian banks for opening special vostro account for rupee trade. Sberbank, JSC VTB - the largest and second largest bank of Russia - are the first foreign lenders to receive this approval after the central bank announced the norms on INR trade in July. Both lenders have branch presence in India. Earlier this month, state-run UCO Bank received the RBI's approval to open a special Vostro account with Gazprombank of Russia. While the Kolkata-based lender is in the process of opening the account, the bank has received requests from various foreign lenders for opening such an account.
Banks alert customers about mobile banking malware targeting over 200 appsRediff.com21 Sep 2022
Several Indian banks have alerted their customers not to download apps from any source other than official app stores. Banking customers are being targeted by a new type of mobile banking malware campaign using SOVA Android Trojan. This malware captures the credentials when users log onto their net-banking apps and access bank accounts. The new version of SOVA appears to be targeting more than 200 mobile applications, including banking apps and crypto wallets.
Another 35-50 bps repo rate hike on cardsRediff.com14 Sep 2022
With retail inflation surprising on the upside, the six-member monetary policy committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to increase the repo rate by 35-50 basis points (bps) in the review scheduled for September 28-30. According to economists, the central bank will continue to focus on bringing inflation down even though economic growth has remained sluggish. Data released by the government on Monday showed that the consumer price index (CPI)-based inflation increased by 7 per cent year-on-year (YoY) in August, thus, staying above the upper tolerance limit of the central bank for all the eight months of 2022.
HDFC Bank's Kaizad Bharucha took home the most among bankers in FY22Rediff.com10 Aug 2022
Kaizad Bharucha, executive director of HDFC Bank, emerged the highest earning banker for 2021-22 (FY22). This was revealed in a remuneration assessment of the country's top bankers, according to annual reports. Bharucha, who oversees wholesale banking at HDFC Bank, received Rs 10.64 crore remuneration in FY22, mainly due to Rs 4.46 crore as performance bonus. Although earned between 2017-18 and 2020-21 (FY21), the bonus payout was partly paid in FY22.
'No Challenge To SBI's Retail Loan Book'Rediff.com21 Jun 2022
'When we look at the quality of our retail loan book, the non-performing asset percentage is low.'
Excess liquidity in banking system back to pre-Covid levelsRediff.com9 Jun 2022
Concerned over inflationary pressures in the economy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is bringing down surplus liquidity in the system rapidly. It has fallen to pre-Covid levels and almost 2 per cent of banks' net demand and time liabilities (NDTL). NDTL shows the difference between the sum of demand and time liabilities (deposits) of a bank (with the public or the other bank) and the deposits in the form of assets held by the other bank.
The curious case of $1-billion SBI loan to debt ridden-Sri LankaRediff.com31 May 2022
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on March 17 had announced that State Bank of India (SBI) would extend a term loan of $1 billion to Sri Lanka, fully guaranteed by the Indian government, and this was part of India's financial aid to the troubled island nation. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi was quoted saying by news agency PTI that the loan would be used for importing food, medicines, and other essential items. "India has always stood with the people of Sri Lanka and we will continue to extend all possible support at this juncture.
MPC members argued for front-loading rate hikes in view of inflationRediff.com26 May 2022
Most members of the monetary policy committee (MPC) argued for front-loading interest rate hikes in view of rapidly rising inflation during the off-cycle monetary policy review earlier this month - the minutes of the meeting published on Wednesday showed. In early May, the rate setting committee met unscheduled and unanimously decided to hike the repo rate by 40 bps. This was the first repo rate hike in four years, and an inter-meeting hike in more than a decade.
Prices of food items continue to rise in May, says RBI reportRediff.com18 May 2022
Prices of food items like cereals, pulses, and edible oils rose or remained steady in May, a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) report said, indicating there could be another higher inflation print. However, it observed that the Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC's) surprise move to increase interest rates bodes well for its credibility. The RBI's monthly State of the Economy report, released on Tuesday, citing high frequency food price data from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs for the period May 1-12, said the increase in the prices of cereals was primarily because of the surge in wheat prices.
RBI won't buy or sell dollars till rupee falls below 75Rediff.com28 Mar 2022
After selling dollars for the past few months, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may take a hands-off approach before its annual account closing by not trying to prop up the rupee as geopolitical tensions show signs of stabilising with global crude oil prices easing from its $140 peak. The central bank was a net buyer of dollars between April and September, and then turned a net seller in the following months, the data released by the RBI showed. The RBI continued to be a net buyer of $36.6 billion in this fiscal year - between April and January. In 2020-21, it purchased $68 billion on a net basis.
Ukraine crisis: Russian oil companies offer big discounts to IndiaRediff.com15 Mar 2022
As stringent sanctions imposed by the European Union and US are crippling business and trade, desperate Russian oil companies are offering huge discounts to India, provided a payment mechanism to bypass the SWIFT ban is quickly approved by the government. According to sources familiar with the development, Russian oil firms are offering 25-27 per cent discount to the dated Brent crude prices. State-run Rosneft is one the biggest oil companies that supply crude to India.
RBI to suck out $5 billion liquidity from the system ahead of LIC IPORediff.com22 Feb 2022
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced a dollar-rupee two-year sell-buy swap auction for $5 billion on March 8, which will suck out rupee liquidity from the system. The swap will be in the nature of a simple sell/buy foreign exchange from the RBI side, in which a bank will buy US dollars from the central bank and simultaneously agree to sell the same amount of US dollars at the end of the swap period. "With a view to elongating the maturity profile of its forward book and smoothen the receivables relating to forward assets, it has been decided to undertake sell/buy swap auction of $5 billion on March 8, 2022," the RBI said in a statement. The auction cut-off will be based on the premium amount in paisa terms up to two decimal points.
Private banks seeing jump in number of online fraudsRediff.com6 Jan 2022
The total amount of fraud reported by banks showed a drop in 2020-21 - for the first time in eight years - though there is an emerging trend of private sector banks reporting a larger number of frauds related to card and internet banking. According to the latest data released by the Reserve Bank of India, commercial banks reported Rs 1.38 trillion of frauds in 2020-21, as compared to Rs 1.85 trillion in the previous year. The first half of the current fiscal year saw banks reporting frauds worth Rs 36,342 crore.