RBI raises interest rates to attract foreign currency deposits

Following the RBI's announcements, the Indian banks will be able to offer higher interest rates on NRI deposits in foreign currency

New Delhi: To attract inflows in view of falling rupee, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday raised the interest rate ceiling on NRI deposits in foreign currencies by up to 3%, reports PTI.

Following RBI’s announcements, the Indian banks will be able to offer higher interest rates on NRI deposits in foreign currency.

In another notification, the RBI deregulated interest rates on export finance, a development that would help exporters to freely raise money in foreign currency without any limit on interest ceilings.

The RBI’s decisions are aimed at arresting the declining value of the Indian rupee which closed at Rs53.47 against a dollar on Friday.

With regard to foreign currency deposits, the RBI said, “interest rate ceiling on Foreign Currency Non-Resident FCNR (B) deposits of banks has been raised from 125 basis points (bps) (1.25%) above the corresponding LIBOR or swap rates to 200 bps for maturity period of one year to less than three years, and to 300 bps for maturity period of three to five years.”
 
For one-year, LIBOR (London Inter-Bank Offered Rate) stood at 1.0472%. LIBOR is world's most widely used benchmark for short-term interest rates.

In another notification, RBI said, “it has been decided to allow banks to determine their interest rates on export credit in foreign currency with effect from 5 May 2012.”
 
Besides these measures, RBI is also reported to have intervened in the forex market by selling dollar.

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Export sops led to revenue sacrifice of Rs70,000 crore in FY 11: CAG

According to the CAG report, the government sacrificed a revenue of Rs25,423 crore on the advance licence duty scheme, followed by EPCG (Rs10,621 crore), duty drawback (Rs8,859 crore) and DEPB (Rs8,736 crore)

New Delhi: The government’s revenue sacrifice to promote exports in 2010-11 zoomed to Rs70,877 crore, up from Rs52,606 crore a year ago, reports PTI quoting a CAG report.

“Duty foregone under various export promotion schemes during the year 2010-11 was Rs70,877 crore which was approximately 52% of the total receipts of customs duty,” said the report tabled in Parliament.

The government collected Rs1.35 lakh crore as customs duty during 2010-11.

In order to promote exports, the government operates various incentive schemes like advance licence duty, entitlement passbook scheme (DEPB), export promotion capital goods (EPCG), Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and Export Oriented units (EOUs).

According to the CAG report, the government sacrificed a revenue of Rs25,423 crore on advance licence duty scheme, followed by EPCG (Rs10,621 crore), duty drawback (Rs8,859 crore) and DEPB (Rs8,736 crore).

The amount of customs duty assessed up to March 2011, which was still to be realised as on December 2011 was Rs9,852.29 crore.

CAG said it was noticed that revenue of Rs72.74 crore was due from exporters and importers who had availed of the benefits of the duty exemption schemes but had not fulfilled the prescribed obligations or conditions.

Further, the audit also detected incorrect assessment of customs duty totalling Rs28.25 crore, the report said.

“These arose mainly due to non-realisation of cost recovery charges, excess refund of additional duty of customs, non-levy of anti dumping duty and incorrect assessment of high sea sale, etc,” the report added.

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Banks may need Rs2.5 lakh crore to meet Basel III capital norms: Fitch

The immediate impact of the Basel-III capital regime is benign, with the common equity Tier-I ratio for many Indian banks already close to 8% or higher, a Fitch study said

New Delhi: Indian banks may need to raise up to $50 billion (about Rs2.5 lakh crore) of additional equity under the Basel III capital regulations announced by the RBI on top of retained earnings, reports PTI quoting a Fitch study.

“Most of the requirement is back-ended, with over 75% needed to be added between 2015-16 and 2017-18. The additional equity reflects growth capital as well as a buffer above the regulatory minimum,” it said.

The guidelines released on 2 May 2012, do not yet provide for a counter-cyclical capital buffer or additional capital for systemically important banks, it said.

Another rating agency ICRA said banks will require between Rs3.9 lakh crore to Rs5 lakh crore as capital to comply with Basel-III norms.

“Banks will need Rs3.9 trillion to Rs5 trillion capital over the next six years, out of which common equity requirements will be Rs1.3 trillion to Rs2 trillion; Rs1.9 trillion for additional tier I; and Rs1 trillion for tier II,” ICRA had said.

Fitch’s calculations add half a percentage point of additional common equity to the regulatory minimum, which banks may like to maintain to avoid breaching the conservation buffer—with attendant restrictions on dividends and other payouts.

The immediate impact of the Basel-III capital regime is benign, with the common equity Tier-I ratio for many Indian banks already close to 8% or higher, it said.

However, the shortfall mounts up between 2015-16 and 2017-18, mostly for government banks—with loan growth outpacing internal capital generation, and the minimum capital ratios stepping up, it said.

The largest requirement is by State Bank of India and its associate banks, reflecting their significant share in the banking system; followed by the mid-sized and small government banks with weaker internal capital generation, it said.

The large private banks fare better, due to their higher capital ratios and stronger profitability, it added.

About half of the $40 billion needed by government banks is likely to be injected by the government based on its stated intent of maintaining majority shareholding.

Unless planned, government banks may face the risk of a sudden shortfall in capital during 2015-16, requiring additional support by the sovereign and putting further pressure on government finances.

The need for fresh capital comes at a time when the performance of Indian banks is clearly being affected by the economic slowdown, together with asset-quality pressures from concentrated exposure to infrastructure companies and weak state-owned entities, it added.

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