Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das will address a press conference today at 10 am. This will be the third presser by the central banks's chief on coronavirus-related financial measures in last two months after the first such address was made on March 27 and the second on April 17.
The RBI governor has announced a series of measures to ease liquidity pressure in the banking system and cushion the blow of Covid-19. These included a sharp 75 basis points rate cut in March and liquidity measures worth at least Rs 5 lakh crore in two rounds. The RBI has also announced a three-month moratorium for all term loan repayments between March 1 and May 31.
What to expect today?
There is a widespread expectation that the governor may announce an extension of the loan moratorium for term loans for a few more months in the backdrop of extension of the nationwide lockdown till May 31. Industries have been demanding extension of the moratorium facility for another three months. This will help companies, severely hit by the lockdown, to not miss the payments to banks.
Secondly, the governor could announce the continuation of the liquidity support measures for banks to lend to non-banking finance companies and small industrial units in view of the prolonged stress in the economy.
RBI's former deputy governor HR Khan, however, told CNBC-TV18 that the extension of the moratorium facility will only lead to accumulation of interest payment. He also did not rule out RBI opting for direct monetisation - printing more money in exchange for government bonds.
The governor may also comment on the recent economic package announced by the government to counter the COVID-19 impact in the economy. As part of the COVID-19 economic package, the Narendra Modi-led government has announced a series of loan schemes, some backed by government guarantees to small industrial units and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs).
These include a Rs 3 lakh crore economic package for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Rs 75,000 crore of loans to NBFCs (of which Rs 30,000 crore is a three-month loan scheme fully backed by the government), Rs 5,000 crore for street vendors and Rs 2 lakh crore concessional credit to farmers.
Of the Rs 20 lakh crore package, the direct spending is only about one percentage of GDP, the rest include loans through various banking channels and development institutions.