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No immediate hike in lending rates, say bankers

Despite a more-than-expected hike in the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), banks today ruled out any immediate hike in lending rates

Retail and corporate borrowers can breathe easy as bankers today said that an immediate hike in lending rates is unlikely even as the RBI tightened money supply by raising the CRR by 75 basis points, reports PTI.

"There may not be an immediate hike in the lending rates as liquidity at the moment is sufficient. We need to see how the liquidity conditions pan out. Going forward, as the credit off-take picks up, there may be an increase in rates," State Bank of India’s chief financial officer S S Ranjan told PTI.

IDBI Bank director Sushil Munhot echoed his sentiments. "I doubt if there would be a hike in interest rates immediately as there is enough liquidity in the system,” he said.

According to Corporation Bank executive director Asit Pal, there would not be any change in prime lending rate as there is sufficient liquidity in the system and credit off-take is also muted at this point of time. However, Mr Pal said that there could be some spike in inter-bank call rate.

Shubhada Rao, chief economist at Yes Bank, said that rate hikes would depend on the overall growth dynamics. "Rate hikes are unlikely in the immediate horizon as economic growth is still on the agenda. I don't see banks upping their interest rates—at least, not yet," Mr Rao said, adding that liquidity was comfortable and would remain comfortable even after the two-tranche CRR hike announced today.

In its third quarter monetary policy review, the RBI raised CRR by 75 basis points to 5.75% to mop up Rs36,000 crore from the system. However, the apex bank retained short-term lending and borrowing rates at 4.75% and 3.25%, respectively.


NTPC targets 75,000MW capacity by 2017

With a view to achieve generation capacity of 75,000MW by 2017, NTPC has undertaken 17 projects across the country

State-run utility NTPC has undertaken 17 projects across the country for capacity addition of 17,930MW of power in the roadmap to achieve 75,000MW generation capacity by 2017, a top company official told reporters.

"In a roadmap to growth, we have 17 under-construction projects spread across India for generation of 17,930MW of power, out of which 14 projects are of NTPC and four (are) through joint ventures, which are in different stages," NTPC’s deputy general manager (finance) Sulochana Muralidharan told reporters yesterday. “At present, NTPC generates 30,644MW (of) power, but our target is to reach 75,000MW capacity generation by 2017,” she added.

"Land, water, fuel supply and power purchase agreements all are in place for these projects, which are expected to come up progressively in the next two-three years under the 11th or early 12th Year plan," she said.

She also said that the company had invited bids for 9,632MW of capacity, spread over 11 projects, and that NTPC expects the contracts to be awarded within a period of six months to one year.

She added that feasibility reports for 4,245MW capacity projects are ready and that these projects are very soon going to be awarded.


3G spectrum auction postponed again

Telecom firms will have to wait longer before they can roll out 3G services as the government has yet again postponed the spectrum auction

In a surprise move, the government has postponed to the next fiscal the auction of spectrum for 3G telephony which was expected to bring in Rs35,000 crore to the exchequer, reports PTI.

The government has been putting off the auction of 3G spectrum for some time now. The postponement of the auction again to 2010-11 is likely to have some adverse impact on the government's finances and the fiscal deficit which is pegged at 6.8% of GDP.

According to senior officials in the Department of Telecom, law minister Veerappa Moily, who is a member of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), has opined that the auction should he held when the spectrum is available.

Telecom minister A Raja could not be contacted immediately for his comments. Officials, however, said that the auction is expected to take place in August-September this year. It is pertinent to mention that the ministry of defence had agreed to vacate the spectrum only during the middle of this year.

The EGoM, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, had decided to allow four private telecom firms to bid for the next-generation mobile telephone services (3G) and had made a provision for garnering up to Rs35,000 crore from the sale of airwaves in the current fiscal.


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