After RBI’s CRR spanner, banks can’t cut lending rates as much as expected:29-Nov-2016

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Upset by the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) decision to charge the entire deposits that banks collected between September 16 and November 11 as a reserve requirement, bankers have said they would not be able to cut lending rates as much as was expected of them.

Banks would now be scrambling to manage enough liquidity for their healthy functioning even as the general public continues to pour in deposits of old high-value notes and the restriction of cash withdrawal prevents adequate outflow of the money deposited.

In a surprise announcement on Friday, RBI had said an incremental cash reserve ratio (CRR) of 100% would need to be maintained on deposits collected during the period mentioned above. Under normal circumstances, CRR is only four% of deposits. Banks don’t earn any interest on CRR.

Sensing a liquidity shortage, RBI on Monday conducted an unprecedented level of liquidity infusion to the tune of Rs 3.3 lakh crore, in which banks bid for as much as Rs 4.5 lakh crore. The central bank said it would conduct a liquidity infusion auction of Rs 1 lakh crore on Tuesday as well, to help banks tide over the liquidity crisis.

The net effect is that instead of parking Rs 5 lakh crore at RBI under the reverse-repo window, banks are now rushing to borrow money from RBI.

Predictably, bond yields shot up on Monday. The 10-year bond yield closed at 6.32%, from its Friday’s close of 6.23%.

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