Monday, March 8, 2010

No change in NRs. exchange rate with IRs., for now!

I was contemplating writing an article on why the pegged exchange rate between Nepalese currency and the Indian currency should be kept as it is at least for now. A recent IMF mission to Nepal observed the same:

“The peg should remain the key macroeconomic policy priority, and monetary policy needs to be fully consistent with this objective. Interest rates need to be maintained above those prevailing in India and the Nepal Rastra Bank’s (NRB) liquidity management needs to be strengthened. When a general liquidity injection is not needed for the system, liquidity provision to sound individual banks with liquidity shortages should take place at penalty rates or at the bank rate under heightened supervision.

“Risks in the financial sector have been building up and need to be addressed urgently. Over the past years, accommodative monetary policy, weak supervision, and proliferation of financial institutions have led to rapidly rising asset prices and overextension of banks. Going forward, the financial system needs to adapt to an environment of slower growth and is likely to see deteriorating asset quality. The mission welcomes the NRB’s directives regarding prudential limits on credit-to-deposit ratios, real estate exposure, loan-to-value ratios, as well as the reintroduction of a minimum Statutory Liquidity Ratio. However, it is critical that these limits are enforced, and not diluted. In this respect, appointing a new governor who can provide strong and stable leadership for the NRB going forward is urgent. The authorities should also pass the revised Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA), encourage bank consolidation, refrain from issuing new licenses for the time being, and proceed with the restructuring of state-controlled banks.