Fitch sees banks’ NPA ratio improving to 10.9% by March-end

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MUMBAI: International ratings agency Fitchtoday said the non-performing assets ratio of banks is likely to improve marginally to 10.9 per cent by the end of this fiscal.

“We expect banks’ stressed assets ratio to improve marginally to 10.9 per cent in 2015-16 from 11.1 per cent in 2014-15, although there is still some time before absolute NPAs witness a reversal,” Fitch’s Director for Financial Institutions Saswata Guha told reporters here.

According to the agency, the system currently has stressed assets of around Rs 9 trillion.

“We will see some more NPAs in the coming quarter, as the system is trying to catch up with some legacy problems,” he said, adding that new NPA generation has started to slow down at many banks and there could be greater traction with cyclical recovery.

“The worst is behind us and once banks are through with provisioning with respect to the existing stressed assets, things should start looking better,” Guha added.

The agency believes that capital will emerge as the main theme as banks look to pursue sustainable growth rates while achieving Basel-III capital requirements and cushioning balance-sheet stress at the same time.

Guha said banks will require close to $140 billion in total capital to ensure full Basel-III implementation by 2018-19, which will not be easy unless banks tap new channels for funds.

“So far, whatever the government has provided or is likely to provide in this financial year and will provide next year should ideally support the financial profiles. Having said that, we believe that the government needs to provide more capital as far as core equity is concerned,” Guha said.

The ratings agency expects credit growth at 12-13 per cent in 2015-16, moderately higher than the 9.7 per cent in the previous fiscal.