Banks are likely to report an improvement in profitability during the December quarter, backed by healthy credit growth, trading gains and lower slippages, analysts say. Pre-provisioning operating profit (PPOP) may rise 13% year-on-year (y-o-y) and net interest income (NII) is expected to increase 15% y-o-y, Kotak Institutional Equities (KIE) said in a recent report. \u201cThe recent RBI (Reserve Bank of India) report reconfirms our hypothesis that the impaired loan ratio for corporate banks would continue to decline while retail banks would see stress levels rising but only gradually,\u201d KIE analysts wrote in the report. \u201cResolution through the IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code) framework has slowed this quarter but progress continues outside through settlements\/upgradation\/write-offs, etc.\u201d PSBs may look to use their operating profit growth as well as mark-to-market reversals to improve their provision coverage ratio. The government\u2019s latest round of capital infusion could lead to aggressive provisioning to bring down the net NPA ratios of a few banks to 6% or below in order for them to exit the prompt corrective action framework. KIE expects the recognition of companies under the IL&FS group as NPAs to begin across banks this quarter, with the key impact being on IndusInd Bank, which declares its numbers on Wednesday. Read Also| Flows into equity Mutual Funds slow to 27-month low in December While the capital infusion into PSBs may help boost their net NPA and capital ratios, profits may still be some distance away, experts say. In a report circulated on Tuesday, ratings agency Icra said losses before tax for PSBs may fall in H2FY19 compared to H1FY19, primarily supported by reversal of MTM losses on their bond portfolios. \u201c.but overall losses (are expected) to remain elevated at `67,600-85,200 crore for FY19 which, in turn, will depend on credit provisioning levels against NPAs. Hence, a large portion of the budgeted capital infusion of `1.06 lakh crore by the government for FY19 will be offset against their losses,\u201d it observed.