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Saturday, September 01, 2012

Why the RBI is not cutting rates to spur growth?
A natural question has come in my mind, WHEN WILL THE RBI cut the rates? After the death of Indian Economy? The high interest rate is helping no one, except the ego of the RBI to beat inflation tiger to death. Even such high interest rate (PLR), has not helped the households to park their savings in the banks/FIs. The banks have already lowered the interest rates in some segments, after a passionate appeal by the FM, but the RBI is still standing erect as  the Eiffel tower, as hawkish  (or should we say childish)  as ever: "The rates will be cut if the inflation falls"---is the new RBI Fad, like the "Promise of Pitmaha Vishma" (Mahabharata). 
When the high interest rate is not helping the real estate prices to come down, then what is the use of taxing the common man? Also, in absence of any noteworthy/good instrument option for household savings in a high inflation environment, people are parking their money in Real Estate. So, lot of money is now flowing int gold (though gold import is falling) and real estate. 
Why would people go for FDs carrying 9-10% coupon rate when, the inflation is at 7%--is there any use to park their investments in banks to get only 3% per year? Therefore, the natural choice is real estate and gold and other safer assets, whose price could appreciate further, as more and more people are taking them as investment options, rather than as pure utilities.
Meanwhile, India's savings rate to GDP is at its lowest & equal to that in 1991. The crisis then and now may be similar as far a lack of confidence is concerned. India always had an enviable high savings growth when compared to the developed economies. Indians not only in India but throughout the world are considered a group which saves a very high percentage of their income. It is believed and rightly so that India's resilience to any economic crisis the world over was because of its high savings and consumption driven by its large population. But alas, it seems all these are now past events. Slowing growth and stubborn inflation have begun eating into the net financial savings of the country, which fell sharply to 7.8% of its GDP om FY12 from 9.3% in FY11 and 12.2 % in FY10 as revealed by central bank's annual report. The last time the figure reached this low was in fiscal 1990. So, is India approaching a Greek like situation, with NPAs piling up in the banks and the India Inc being not able to service the debts; forget capex plans??!!
The Indian infrastructure is in doldrums, as the projects are getting stalled because the companies have no money or their contracts have become nonviable, due to high interest rates for prolonged period. Many companies like IVRCL Infrastructure Ltd is having a high order book but no working capital to complete the contracts. Many of the EPC companies, who generally work under razer thin margins, are at the receiving end. Don't get baffled by the recent government statistics of 10.9% in the construction sector. Industry analysts and many market players say that this growth can be attributed to the execution of delayed projects. I know ARSS Infrastructure Ltd is trying to complete lot of delayed projects after they could somehow manage some working capital.
Those who used to do work for the Indian Railways are not getting payment, as it has been turned into a bankrupt company by successive Railway ministers.

The auto sector is suffering, the home prices are rising as the Builders are talking loans for new constructions, at high interest rate. 
Moreover, the poor people who took loan from banks/FIs on floating rate of interest basis, thinking that the interest rates will taper off, are the biggest sufferers. My neighbor's son in Bombay who opened a shop, had saw his shop get sealed by the bank officials as he could not pay 6 (six) installments of loan he took from a PSU Bank for his business. He is now cursing the RBI, saying these people are responsible for my plight.Few industries, have stalled their expansion as they are not able to pay installments of their earlier debts. Many of these industries have thought of replacing the high cost debts with the low cost ones, but alas, they never thought  of the sadistic mentality of the RBI bosses. These people should be sent to Jail for torturing the common man or the man in the streets. 
Many of the small shops/ enterprises who took loans, are now having "Ram Naam Saatya Hai" kind of situation. 
Meanwhile our earlier FM did something stupid, brought in a snake called GAAR, which not only rattled the markets but also, created havoc in the currency market, leading to problems for the FCCB holders. What kind of policy is the current government having? It seems we are running without a government since the last couple of years--with the institutions like CAG, Supreme Court, RBI, etc, taking the front seat, as the politicians are fighting a pitched battle at the centre, for grabbing the power.
Also, I am wondering what the Finance Minister, P Chidambaram is doing at the present moment: he should in fact now order the rogue RBI bosses to cut the rates, before the wounds turn gangrene.....!! Are we governed by the RBI or by the FMO? All these fellows who could not control the inflation in more than 2 years should be sacked. Keeping interest rate high for too long gives a very bad scar on any economy. India should learn from Turkey as how to function in a moderatey inflated environment. Once the growth is gone, it would be difficult to bring it back--does the FM understand the same..? 
It is like someone trying to make you sick, even though you do not want to be.......Huh!! Achcha kasha maaja hai......!! Now all the RBI bosses could take a new name, "Mera Naam Joker".
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