There’s enough liquidity in system: RBI deputy governor

RBI deputy governor KC Chakrabarty on Monday said there is sufficient liquidity in the system, though banks have been borrowing nearly Rs1 trillion from the central bank’s short-term borrowing window everyday for quite some time now

Mumbai: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor KC Chakrabarty on Monday said there is sufficient liquidity in the system, though banks have been borrowing nearly Rs1 trillion from the central bank’s short-term borrowing window everyday for quite some time now, reports PTI.

Answering a question whether there is a possibility of RBI cutting the cash reserve ratio (CRR) to ease liquidity crunch, he said, “I am also reading it in the press. The RBI can use any tool at any time.” 

To another question on whether a cut in the CRR which is the interest-free cash that banks park with the central bank as a measure of their solvency, will be an appropriate measure in the prevailing high inflationary environment, he said, “Appropriate steps will be taken to infuse liquidity at the appropriate time.”

The last time the RBI tweaked the CRR was in May 2010 and since then it has been pegged at 6%. Banks are mandated to park 6% of their assets as reserves with the central bank.

However, the policy rate or short-term borrowing rate, has been raised 11 times during the same period or 325 basis points (bps) with the last being in the October policy when the repo rate was upped by 25 bps to 8.50%.

The statement comes amidst a clamour for some urgent measures from RBI to ease liquidity pressure in the system as its tight monetary policy to fight a wayward inflation, which stood at 9.73% in October, has dried up private investment and brought growth to a two-year low.

The second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) came down to 6.9%, a two-year low against 7.7% in the first quarter.

Banks have been lapping up nearly Rs1 trillion every day from the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF), which is the short-term borrowing window of the RBI.

The massive fall of the rupee has only worsened the liquidity situation. Since August the rupee lost as much as 17% the greenback, making it the worst performer among its Asian peers, as there is a scramble for the safety of the US currency across the globe.

Also, liquidity tightness will only increase in the days to come as corporates will be making advance tax payments by 15th December.

Economists and analysts also say that given the sticky inflation, which has been sniffing at 10% for the past 13 months, it would be inappropriate for RBI to ease interest rates now, but a cut in CRR will send the right signal to the industry and markets.

A 25 basis points slash in the CRR can release about Rs15,000 crore into the system.

Analysts are seeing that pressure is mounting on the RBI to cut CRR by at least 0.25 percentage points to improve liquidity in the system.

Analysts believe the RBI intervention may come anytime during the week.

“We expect the Reserve Bank to continue to ease liquidity, first through open market operations, and then by cutting the reserve requirements of banks,” Goldman Sachs said in a report.

“Given this backdrop of growth slowing and inflation peaking off, we are relieved that RBI has finally begun OMOs to cut the money market liquidity deficit and reduce undue pressure on interest rates,” Bank of America-Merrill Lynch India economist Indranil Sen Gupta said in a report.

Since the last week of November, the RBI has bought back government bonds twice releasing nearly Rs16,000 crore into the system. On Monday it announced another Rs10,000 crore bond buyback on 8th December.

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India’s mobile subscriber base at 873.61 million users in September

The total telecom subscriber base of the country stood at 906.9 million at the end of September, taking the overall teledensity to 75.48 (telecom connections per 100 people), a TRAI statement said on Monday

New Delhi: Indian telecom service providers added 7.9 million new subscribers in September, taking the total number of wireless users in the country to 873.61 million, reports PTI quoting the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

The total telecom subscriber base of the country stood at 906.9 million at the end of September, taking the overall teledensity to 75.48 (telecom connections per 100 people), a TRAI statement said on Monday.

The number of wireline subscribers fell to 33.3 million in September from 34.07 million in August, it added.

There was marginal increase in India’s broadband subscriber base to 12.84 million in September from 12.69 million in the previous month.

About 25.70 lakh subscribers submitted request for MNP (mobile number portability) in September. Since the introduction of MNP in November last year, about 206.29 lakh subscribers across the country had submitted requests, till September, for changing their service providers while retaining their mobile numbers under MNP.

In MNP Zone-I (Northern and Western India), maximum number of requests have been received in Gujarat (20.09 lakh), followed by Maharashtra (16.93 lakh).

In MNP Zone-II (Southern and Eastern India), maximum number of requests have been received in Andhra Pradesh (16.47 lakh) followed by Karnataka Service area (16.16 lakh).

The number of active mobile subscribers during September, according to visitor location register (VLR) data, was 617.76 million.

VLR numbers provide details on active customers at any given point of time, excluding ‘switched-off’ and ‘out-of- coverage area’ customers.

Meanwhile, growth in the wireless category was led by Idea Cellular which added 1.73 million users, taking its subscriber base to 100.18 million at the end of September.

Bharti Airtel added 0.93 million subscribers in the reported month, taking its user base to 172.78 million.

Reliance Communications added 1.02 million new users to take its total customer base to over 147.08 million.

Vodafone added 0.84 million new customers during the month, taking its user base to 144.99 million, while Aircel added over 0.60 million users during the period.

State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) added 0.38 million new users, taking its total subscriber base to 95.79 million. The other state-run telecom company Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL) saw 28,360 new users registering for its service in the reported month.

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Oil production likely to touch 38 million tonnes this fiscal

“The incremental oil production in recent years is largely from the Barmer fields in Rajasthan, and in case of gas, it is from Krishna Godavari basin,” oil minister S Jaipal Reddy said at the World Petroleum Congress in Doha

New Delhi: Helped by Cairn India’s prolific Rajasthan oilfields, India’s crude oil production is likely to touch 38 million tonnes (MT) this fiscal, reports PTI quoting oil minister S Jaipal Reddy.

Speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Doha on Monday, he said natural gas output is expected to cross 50 billion cubic meters in 2011-12 fiscal.

“The incremental oil production in recent years is largely from the Barmer fields in Rajasthan, and in case of gas, it is from Krishna Godavari basin,” according to a copy of his speech released by the oil ministry here.

The balance recoverable reserves from the known oil and gas reservoirs are about 2,041 MT, he said.

“Our refinery sector has seen phenomenal growth in recent years. The installed capacity which was at 62 MT in 1998, has increased to 193 MT in 2011. This will be further increased to 232 MT by 2012,” he said.

The excess refinery capacity has made India an exporter of petroleum products. The nation exported 59 MT of fuel valued at $43 billion last fiscal.

“Our refineries have invested $7 billion in the last four years in processes to produce greener fuels with lower emissions,” he said.

India’s coal reserves, fourth largest in the world, are prognosticated to hold about 92 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of coal bed methane (CBM).

“Exploration and production of CBM has commenced in India. Among other unconventional sources of gas, we are exploring possibilities in shale gas and gas hydrates,” he added.

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