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Gold price fall not a worry for NBFCs, but banks need to be watchful

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Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC).

The correction in gold prices in recent months is not expected to materially impact the asset quality of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) lending against gold. Apart from periodically collecting interest over the past few fiscals, they have ensured that disbursement loan-to-value (LTV) is maintained below 75 per cent, ratings agency Crisil said.

On a 30-day rolling basis, gold price has corrected 10 per cent over the past six months, while on an absolute basis it fell twice that rate.

For NBFCs, the average portfolio LTV as on December 31, 2020, was 63-67 per cent, while average LTV on incremental disbursements in the October-December 2020 quarter was 70 per cent. The LTV discipline is also evident in interest receivables remaining at just 2-4 per cent of the loan book over the past few years.

For banks, however, incremental-disbursement LTV was higher at 78-82 per cent because they were more aggressive than NBFCs in lending against gold during last fiscal. Much of the growth in their book came during the third quarter of the last fiscal, when gold prices were soaring.

Since June 2020, loans against gold surged even as lending to other segments was affected by asset-quality concerns. In the 11 months through February 2021, loans against gold grew 70 per cent for banks to over Rs 56,000 crore. What further contributed to this growth was the LTV relaxation to 90 per cent (only for banks) announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in August 2020.

Krishnan Sitaraman, Senior Director & Deputy Chief Ratings Officer, Crisil Ratings, said: “The average LTV of the gold-loan books of banks is estimated at 75-80 per cent currently versus 70 per cent before the RBI relaxation. Given that gold prices have dropped 18-20 per cent from their August peaks on an absolute basis, without periodic interest collections, the books of banks may be susceptible to asset-quality issues to some extent. However, with the LTV dispensation period ending in March 2021, incremental lending would have more LTV cushion.”

Disbursement LTV and timely interest collection have a significant bearing on the cushion available with lenders in terms of value of gold given as collateral compared with the loan outstanding. This, in turn, impacts asset quality. Therefore, robust risk management systems and timely auctions are crucial to offset volatility in gold prices and ultimate credit loss.

Ajit Velonie, Director, CRISIL Ratings, said: “While gross non-performing assets (GNPA) could rise, ultimate credit cost – a more appropriate indicator of asset quality for gold loans – is not expected to. Historically, while GNPAs had risen to as much as 7 per cent for NBFCs, credit costs were low at 10-80 basis points. This underscores sound business acumen and strong track record of timely auctions. For banks, given the sharp growth they have seen, monitoring LTV and staying agile are imperatives to avert potential asset-quality challenges.”

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Business

Bull-run: Sensex crosses 60k-mark; realty stocks rally

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Bombay-Stock-Exchange

 India’s benchmark equity index S&P BSE Sensex crossed the 60,000-mark milestone on Friday. It took 246 days to accumulate the last 10,000 points.

The 30-scrip sensitive index crossed the milestone just after the pre-open session on the back of a rally driven by large caps with many index heavyweights touching their respective highs.

The Sensex opened at 60,158.76 points from its previous close of 59,885.36 points. It took only 42 days to gain the last 5,000 points.

At 12.10 p.m. the Sensex traded at 60,127.50 points, higher by 242.14 points or 0.40 per cent from its previous close.

The NSE Nifty50 traded above the 17,900 points-mark during the pre-noon session. It opened at 17,897.45 points from its previous close of 17,822.95. The Nifty touched a record intraday high of 17,927.20 points.

Sector-wise, Realty, IT, Media and Telecom indices were the best performers since May 18, 2021.

Auto, pharma and metal indices have risen the least.

Amongst BSE 200 stocks, JSW Energy, Mindtree, IRCTC and Mphasis have risen more than 100 per cent over this period.

Furthermore, LTI, LTTS, Godrej Properties and Zee Ent are other large gainers.

The market cap of all listed companies clubbed together crossed Rs 250 lakh crore.

By noon, NSE Nifty50 edged higher. It rose to 17,883.70 points, higher by 60.75 points or 0.34 per cent from its previous close.

“The rally in domestic market is driven by positive global cues, strong inflows by FIIs or DIIs, good corporate earnings, falling Covid-19 cases, upbeat corporate commentaries and low cost of capital. Amid the buoyant sentiment and increased activity, Nifty valuations has reached elevated levels and demand consistent delivery on earnings expectations,”said Siddhartha Khemka, Head – Retail Research, Motilal Oswal Financial Services.

“Given rich valuations, one cannot ignore intermittent volatility — however, we expect the positive momentum to continue on the back of improving economic activity and recovery in corporate earnings.”

According to Ashish Biswas, Head of Technical Research, CapitalVia Global Research: “The market is growing due to excess liquidity and a low-interest rate regime. Investors also felt relieved by the Federal Reserve’s stance on withdrawing stimulus and raising interest rates.”

“FIIs and DIIs continue to pour in more investment in the market which has led to further highs. The fear of the third wave has also decreased and investors are not worried about the adverse impacts on the economy as more and more people get vaccinated.”

In addition, Dhiraj Relli, MD & CEO, HDFC Securities said: “This shows the impact of return of FPIs and local investors continuing to invest despite headwinds that cropped up time and again.”

“The absence of a 10 per cent correction in the indices over the last 18 months shows the maturity of the local investors, but also throws up the possibility of that happening over the next few weeks or months.”

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Business

Diesel price increased, petrol rate remains steady

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Petrol

 Auto fuel prices in the country have maintained stability amid volatility in global oil prices, but the oil marketing companies on Friday increased the price of diesel marginally while maintaining stability and petrol prices.

Accordingly, diesel prices increased by 20 paise per litre in the national capital to Rs 88.82 per litre on Friday while petrol price remained unchanged for the 19 consecutive days.

OMCs have preferred to maintain their watch prices on the global oil situation before making any revision in prices.

The wait and watch plan of OMCs has come to the relief of consumers as no revision has been done during a period when crude prices were on the rise over a shortfall in US production and demand pick up. This would have necessitated about Rs 1 increase in prices of petrol and diesel.

In Mumbai, the petrol price was stable at Rs 107.26 per litre while diesel rate increased to about Rs 96.40 a litre.

Across the country as well petrol price remained static on Friday while diesel price increased marginally.

Fuel prices have been hovering at record levels on account of 41 increases in its retail rates since April this year. It fell on a few occasions but largely remained stable.

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Business

Cryptocurrency Hyper Fund under govt scanner

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Bitcoin

The government is keeping a close eye on cryptocurrency floating in the market based out of the country folowing alert that agencies responsible to check financial fraud are watching a company called Hyper Fund.

Sources said Hyper Fund, a DEFI by Hyper Tech Group has come under the radar recently. The Group claims to have launched the Hyper Fund to provide a decentralized financial infrastructure. Hyper Fund was announced in mid-2020.

As per the company website it is led by Ryan Xu, however, with the Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) model Hyper Fund has been luring investors with higher returns and such offerings, a common practice under Ponzi Schemes, that got the authorities alerted in the first place.

According to sources, complaints against such Funds have started pouring in several states. In India, the RBI, Union Finance Ministry and SEBI had warned people against cryptocurrency trading. The RBI is planning to launch India’s official digital currency- E Rupee soon.

The Finance Ministry has clarified that Virtual currencies are also not legal tender. Hence, VCs are not currencies. The RBI has also clarified that it has not given any licence/ authorization to any entity/ company to operate or deal with Bitcoin or any virtual currency.

In June 2018, Amit Bhardwaj was arrested at the Delhi Airport by Pune police along with his brother Vivek Bhardwaj in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme. Bhardwaj, started his own bitcoin mining operations and allegedly cheated more than 8,000 people to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore from across the country.

He has lodged a complaint with the Delhi Police special cell, alleging that he received an extortion call and was asked to pay protection money on September 6, 2021. He had setup multi-level marketing (MLM) scam by luring investors to give him Bitcoins in return for promised higher returns, police had alleged.

Regulators in UK have issued warning against such fund and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have warnings issued for both Hyper Fund and Fund Advisor.

On its website, which was first published on in March 23 ,2021 and later updated on August 31, the FCA said, “We believe this firm may be providing financial services or products in the UK without our authorisation. Almost all firms and individuals offering, promoting or selling financial services or products in the UK have to be authorised or registered by us. This firm is not authorised by us and is targeting people in the UK.”

Warning investors about such fund, it further said: “You will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so you are unlikely to get your money back if things go wrong.”

The Website used by these companies as per FCA ar http://thehyperfund.online, https://thehyperfund.com/

Decentralised Finance (DEFI) offering through blockchain technology by HyperTech Group, which is said to be based out from Hong Kong, as sources said Indian Regulators and Authorities have started monitoring the situation.

Following the measures taken by financial regulators such as the US Security and Exchange Commission and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, Indian regulators and enforcement authorities have started monitoring investment in Hyper Fund — a Decentralised Finance offering through blockchain technology by HyperTech Group.

Globally, Financial regulators acknowledge the fact that Ponzi scheme organizers often use the latest innovation, technology, product or growth industry to entice investors and give their scheme the promise of high returns. Potential investors are often less skeptical of an investment opportunity when assessing something novel, new or “cutting-edge.” On its website, Hyper Fund claims to be �The Strongest Rocket in Blockchain Finance’

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