PM, FM, Industry Welcome RBI 'Bazooka' of Interest Rate Cut, Liquidity Measures in War Against COVID-19
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From Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rating agencies and economists, all welcomed the Reserve Bank of India's steps to reduce the cost of borrowing and infusing liquidity in the market in its war against the impact of coronavirus pandemic. Following are the comments made by key leaders, businessmen and economists:
* Prime Minister Narendra Modi: Today RBI has taken giant steps to safeguard our economy from the impact of the Coronavirus. The announcements will improve liquidity, reduce the cost of funds, help middle class and businesses.
* Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman: Appreciate RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das' reassuring words on financial stability. The 3-month moratorium on payments of term loan installments (EMI) and interest on working capital give much-desired relief. The slashed interest rate needs quick transmission.
* Alka Anbarasu of Moody's Investors Service: "RBI's guidelines permitting banks and non-bank financial institutions to grant a 3-month moratorium on loan repayments will soften the negative credit impact that the coronavirus has had on their borrowers in the near term. However, there are still material downside risks to asset quality given the halt in India's economy, the impact of which will not be known until a few quarters after the end of the moratorium.
* SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar: The RBI policy announcements are bold, decisive, compelling and with a humane touch in attenuating to the needs of the economy to fight through the pandemic. The large rate cut, the adjustment in capital conservation buffer, the moratorium on repayments and the bazooka of conventional CRR cut and unconventional liquidity measure of incentivising banks to support CP market - all will help financial markets stabilise, lead to immediate rate transmission and address the credit needs of the real economy. Given that we are in exceptional times, RBI has played the role of championing the cause for the economy and financial system!
* Cyril Shroff, Managing Partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas: The RBI has unleashed a bazooka to deal with the economic pain and uncertainty prevailing. This provides a much-needed respite for borrowers and lenders in these trying circumstances and should soften the recovery period.
* BJP president Jagat Prakash Nadda: RBI decision will help the middle class. I welcome these progressive and timely measures.
* Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan: Moratorium on payment of interest on loans and working capital will provide much-needed relief to both people and businesses.
* Raymond Ltd chairman and managing director Gautam Hari Singhania: The moves announced by RBI today are decisive and a comprehensive package to ensure the stability of financial markets making borrowing costs as low as possible with businesses around the country are closed and the economy is showing recessionary trends. The steps to ease working capital pain, reduced liquidity costs and providing moratorium on term loans will alleviate stress across various sectors.
* Essar Ports CEO Rajiv Agarwal: Moratorium of 3 months for interest and principle payments along with a sharp cut in the CRR will ease the liquidity and help industry as well other segments of the economy. More steps might be needed once the Government comes out with the much-needed stimulus package to overcome the economic crisis arising from COVID-19.
* Anshuman Magazine, CBRE: RBI is in a mission mode to nurture the market, preserve financial stability and the timing here is crucial. The decision to defer installments of all term loans by three months will provide the necessary support to homebuyers as well.
* Arun Singh, Chief Economist, Dun and Bradstreet: Strong proactive measures have been taken by RBI to address the need of the country in times of heightened uncertainty. Such robust measures were unanticipated and would restore the confidence of the market, restrict foreign capital outflows, both in the debt and equity market, and will help in arresting depreciation of rupee. Mitigating debt servicing burden to prevent transmission of financial stress to the real economy was much needed as various countries globally have deferred loan payments from three to six months. However, banks might face difficulties meeting the capital adequacy norms which we expect will be further relaxed by the RBI during the short term.
* Gayathri Parthasarathy, KPMG: It is a good decision and the time is right for RBI to intervene and announce these measures. The steps to ease working capital pain, reduce liquidity costs and provide a moratorium on term loans will alleviate stress across various sectors. Liquidity will definitely help the current situation and I strongly believe the rates could go down further by 50 to 75 basis points.
* Sanjay Doshi, KPMG: Onus is now on the financial institutions to ensure better credit support to the corporate. However, given the challenging times, many corporates will have significant pressure on their income stream. Banks will have a tough job in deciding the allocation of credit.
* Muthoot Pappachan Group Chairman Thomas John Muthoot: Various measures to nudge banks to lend and to inject liquidity into the system, will help in passing the benefit to the potential borrowers.
* Radhika Rao, Economist, DBS Group Research: RBI pulled all the stops, delivering an aggressive rate cut. Its moves provide the right tailwind for the economy once the lockdown is complete.