Credit growth rebounds

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 00:30 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  •  Lending to private sector up Rs. 52.3 b in September following Rs. 47.7 b rise in August
  The Central Bank said yesterday that a healthy growth of credit disbursements to the private sector by commercial banks were observed for the second consecutive month in September 2014. It said credit obtained by the private sector from commercial banks increased by Rs. 52.3 billion during the month of September, following an increase of Rs. 47.7 billion in August. “On a y-o-y basis, this was an acceleration of credit to 4.6% in September 2014 from 2.6% in the previous month,” the Central Bank said following the Monday’s November monetary policy review meeting where it was decided to keep policy rates unchanged. It also said the quarterly survey of commercial banks’ loans and advances to the private sector reflected substantial credit flows to the Industry and the Services sectors in the first three quarters of the year. Providing further impetus for a robust credit growth in the period ahead, the impact of the contraction in pawning advances on private sector credit growth following the decline in international gold prices appears to have gradually diminished in response to the policy measures introduced by the Central Bank. “The reduction in market interest rates, including those on medium and long term credit facilities, is also expected to reinforce a continued credit flow to the economy,” the Central Bank said. Reflecting the recent downward adjustments to domestic energy prices, headline inflation on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis declined to its lowest level since November 2009 to record 1.6% in October 2014, compared to 3.5% in the previous month. Annual average headline inflation also declined to 3.8% from 4.2%. Core inflation (y-o-y) meanwhile was at 3.6% in October 2014 compared to 3.7% in the previous month, indicating well contained demand pressures on inflation. It is expected that subdued commodity prices in the international market, recent budget proposals such as reducing the Value Added Tax (VAT) to 11% and stable inflation expectations would keep inflation at benign levels in the period ahead. Broad money (M2b) grew by 12.8% (y-o-y) in September 2014 compared to 12.3% in the previous month reflecting the expansion in bank credit obtained by the private and public sectors. During the first nine months of the year, net credit to the government (NCG) from the banking sector has increased by Rs. 87.3 billion while credit to public corporations has declined by Rs. 1.2 billion. Net foreign assets (NFA) of the banking sector have increased by Rs. 225.9 billion during this period. On the external front, the rupee remained broadly stable supported by foreign currency inflows mainly on account of export earnings, tourism, remittances, and other inflows to the banking sector. Accordingly, the gross official reserves stood at an estimated $ 8.8 billion, equivalent to 5.3 months of imports by end October 2014. In this background, the Monetary Board at its meeting held on 17 November was of the view that the current monetary policy stance of the Central Bank is appropriate. Accordingly, the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) and the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) of the Central Bank will remain unchanged at their current levels of 6.50% and 8.00%, respectively. Access to the Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) will remain rationalised while OMO auctions will be conducted as necessary. The date for the release of the next regular statement on monetary policy would be announced in due course.