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PSU banks need more time to improve credit profile: Moody’s

Indian PSU banks will need years to improve their credit profiles as the asset quality is tied up with a slow, multi-year recovery of corporate balance sheets, said global ratings agency Moody’s on Wednesday.

“A longer time-frame is needed for the credit profiles of public-sector banks to improve, because their asset quality is tied to the slow, multi-year recovery of corporate balance sheets and the lagging recognition of associated credit costs,” Moody’s Vice President & Senior Credit Officer Srikanth Vadlamani said in a report.

The overall debt servicing metrics of Indian corporates are weak, which exhibit very high debt levels and will require years to improve, he said.

Improvement in credit profiles of Indian public-sector banks, which account for more than 70 per cent of total banking system assets in India, will be achieved only in medium-term, given their high levels of impaired loans and weak capital positions, the report said.

“The improvement in the asset quality of Indian public sector banks for the fiscal year ended March 31 was marginal and much weaker than we had expected at the start of the same year,” said Vadlamani.

While asset sales and fresh capital raising activities increased in the fiscal year, the developments have not meaningfully lowered debt levels among Indian corporates, he added further.

PSU banks will need significant capital over the next few years, though their internal capital generation capacity is weak and access to equity markets has been difficult.

Given low capital levels of public sector banks as a whole, the government’s selective approach to capital infusion will put further negative pressure on the credit profiles of weaker banks, said the report.

In its capital infusion plan for PSU banks in February this year, government only allocated funds to a few selected profitable banks, while excluding the weaker banks.

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