RBI flags impact of telecom troubles on banks, inflation: Report
The central bank has conveyed its concern to the government and sought relief for telcos
February 28, 2020 / 11:09 AM IST
Vodafone Idea (Representative Image)
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has raised concerns over the large exposure of banks to various telecom companies and of a possible inflation hike due to the sectors’ recent adjusted gross revenue (AGR) based troubles, Mint reported.
The central bank has conveyed its concern to the government and sought relief for telcos. It is “concerned about the Supreme Court order on telecom dues and is watching the industry closely,” a source told the paper, adding that the government is likely to consider RBI’s requests and is working on a potential rescue plan for telcos.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
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RBI has suggested the government allow telcos to make staggered payments over the next two-to-three years. Banks’ exposure to the sector is significant and a telcos’ bankruptcy would burden lenders with non-performing loans (NPLs).
According to Credit Suisse, banks have a fund and non-fund exposure of 1-2.5 percent and 1.5-3 percent to the telecom sector, respectively. Exposure to the most vulnerable players – Vodafone Idea – by some of the largest banks stands around 2-12 percent of their net worth, it added.
Macquarie pegs State Bank of India exposure at Rs 11,200 crore – the largest, followed by Yes Bank at Rs 4,200 crore and IndusInd Bank at Rs 3,400 crore.
Meanwhile, the RBI’s recent monetary policy committee (MPC) also flagged that further tariff hikes 'could be inflationary' after telcos upped tariffs in December last year – the first in 10 years. It could impart “cost-push pressures to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation excluding food and fuel," it said.