Economy may pick up in second half: Uday Kotak

May 03 2013, 15:02 IST
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SummaryWe think the real economy continues to be slow at this stage: Uday Kotak

Kotak Mahindra Bank reported 47% y-o-y growth in net profit in Q4. Executive chairman and managing director of the bank Uday Kotak said he expects the economy to pick up in the second half of FY14 and RBI could cut repo rate by 25 bps following which banks could cut their lending rates.Excerpts:

Kotak Mahindra Bankís loan growth in commercial vehicle (CV) and construction equipment (CE) has been flat. Can you give an update on the segment.

We have been cautious about this sector for the last 12-15 months and I think that has paid us as there was a slowdown in the economy. Between the two, CE and CV, construction equipment is feeling greater pressure. We continue to be careful in that segment. On the commercial vehicle segment side, light commercial vehicle continue to do well, within heavy commercial vehicle small truck operators are doing fine but the larger truck operators are feeling some pressure particularly those operators that have exposure to the infrastructure sector. We will watch the situation and if we see improvement we will press the accelerator. At this stage the economy continues to be slow. So, we continue to lend but we will have a tighter lending matrix.

KMBís provisions have risen to Rs43 crore from Rs4.6 crore last year. Why?

It is the economy which is slowing down so when you have the real economy slowing down then obviously provisions do go up and the results reflect that. We think the real economy continues to be slow at this stage and going forward the banks will have to watch how the real economy does and make adequate provisioning on their portfolio. At this stage I would say it is early days but in the second half of FY14 we hope to see some pick up in growth with commodity prices and interest rates going down.

What is your expectation from RBI? Will banks be able to transfer the benefits to the people?

Some reduction in the interest rate is expected. My view is 0.25% repo rate cut is possible, though I know the market is beginning to expect 0.50%. If I had to choose between CRR and repo, I would say repo rate cut looks likely. In terms of transmission there is a fair chance that the banks will re-look at their base rate. If the overall interest rate situation in the wholesale market continues to improve as it

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