The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has maintained an accommodative policy stance for well over a year now but its efforts have had a limited impact on spurring bank lending to consumers. Now, economists hope the measures announced on Tuesday will prove different.
Despite slashing interest rates by a total 125 of basis points in 2015, the RBI has been hamstrung by the limited pass-through by banks. Commercial lenders have implemented only about half of the rate cuts, blaming tight liquidity conditions and deteriorating asset quality. Non-performing loans (NPLs), or bad loans, spiked by nearly a third to $60.3 billion late last year, according to Reuters.
On Tuesday, the central bank lowered the rate at which it lends money to banks—called the repo rate—to a more than five-year low and announced new steps to prod banks to pass on the full benefits of monetary stimulus to the wider economy, revealing its commitment to the issue.