Incremental credit flow from banks, bonds, and commercial papers in India declined by 64 per cent to Rs 6.04 trillion in FY20 from Rs 15.82 trillion in FY19, on account of the slowdown and high level of risk aversion among bankers, says ICRA.
The rating agency expects incremental credit flow of Rs 7.3-9.7 trillion during FY21, a year expected to be hit hard by massive economic disruption due to the lockdown.
The expectation of incremental credit flow in FY21 is driven by the higher credit demand in light of weakening cash flows of borrowers, which has been caused by the pandemic. Capitalisation of interest for the period of moratorium offered by lenders has also added to woes.
Lower use of external commercial borrowings (ECB), coupled with the use of proceeds from the targeted long-term repo operations (TLTRO), could drive up domestic credit growth, said Karthik Srinivasan, Group Head (Financial Sector Ratings), ICRA.
Bankers concurred with the estimate of higher quantum of incremental flow of credit.
“This growth will happen, but on the stressed asset base. How that will get serviced when cash flows will be under strain, is a big imponderable.”
Referring to the trend in FY20, ICRA said incremental credit growth from banks stood at Rs 5.9 trillion, and stood weak during FY20 as compared to Rs 11.9 trillion during FY19. Moderation in economic growth curtailed fresh credit demand, besides increased risk aversion among lenders.
Amid higher risk aversion, many corporates and NBFCs sought the RBI’s nod for overseas borrowing, thereby reducing demand from domestic sources. ECB approvals rose 70 per cent YoY for the trailing twelve months (TTM) of February 2020, and stood at $58.2 billion as compared to $34.2 billion during TTM of February 2019.
The risk aversion in foreign investors towards emerging economies will, however, increase because of Covid-19, and ECB approvals could decline by $15-20 billion in FY21, thereby creating additional credit demand from domestic sources.
Further, the moratorium on loan repayments and interest will require banks to capitalise this interest to borrowers account, as they are unlikely to be in a position to pay the accumulated interest in one go. This will also push up bank credit.
All these factors could create additional demand for bank credit because of the Covid-induced cash flow mismatch, even though fresh credit demand for capital expenditure will remain muted.
Corporate bonds are estimated to have grown Rs 1.5 trillion during FY20, translating to a muted YoY growth of 5 per cent as compared to a growth of Rs 3.3 trillion during FY19.