Thu, 30 Jun 2022 Today's Paper

Fitch revises SL’s banking sector outlook to Negative on coronavirus

27 March 2020 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A A A

Fitch Ratings yesterday revised Sri Lanka’s banking sector outlook for 2020 to ‘Negative’ from ‘Stable’ amid coronavirus pandemic posing increased risks to the anticipated expansion in the economy and credit demand, which according to rating agency, would adversely affect the performance of the banks. 


“Operating conditions are more challenging, affecting asset quality and profitability recovery”, the rating agency said. 


Further, the protracted pandemic could also weigh on the outlooks of the individual bank ratings as there is extremely less probability for an upward revision in their rating outlooks when the rating agency perform a complete review of all ratings assigned to Sri Lankan banks, which is set to take place soon.


“Fitch expects to perform a complete review of all ratings assigned to Sri Lankan banks in the near term, which will include an assessment of the likely impact,” the rating agency added.  
Fitch Ratings in December 2019 revised Sri Lanka’s sovereign outlook to ‘Negative’ in response to the fiscal stimulus introduced by the government.


Fitch Ratings further said the following in its commentary.   


“We believe the pandemic could cause considerable disruptions to key economic sectors such as services, which accounted for 59 percent of nine-month real GDP at end-September 2019, through its impact on sub-sectors such as trade, transportation, tourism and manufacturing (16 percent of real GDP), and hamper our previously anticipated pickup in economic activity. 


We now expect Sri Lanka’s GDP growth to slow significantly from our original estimate of 3.5 percent for 2020, after provisional growth of 2.8 percent in 2019. 


Fitch believes demand for credit will remain muted in 2020 due to the weaker economic growth outlook despite the multiple policy rate cuts by the central bank - 50bp in late January 2020 and another 25bp in March 2020 - along with a 1 percent reduction in statutory reserve requirements (SRR). Authorities took a range of measures since the Easter attacks in April 2019 to accelerate loan growth including lending rate caps and policy rate cuts totalling 100bp, but Sri Lanka’s gross loans rose just 5.6 percent in 2019, the slowest rate since 2009. 


Any prolonged impact of the virus will intensify the asset quality pressure the banks are already facing, with the sector regulatory non-performing loan (NPL) ratio rising to 4.7 percent by end-2019 from 3.4 percent in 2018 even as the regulator and the government continued to announce policies to stimulate the economy. 

The regulator granted loan moratoriums to sectors such as tourism and provided a credit support scheme for SMEs after the Easter bombings. We believe sectors such as trading (16 percent of Fitch-rated banks loans at end-September 2019), and tourism (direct exposure of 4 percent) are likely to be directly affected by the outbreak while other sectors such as consumption (18 percent), manufacturing (10 percent) and construction (15 percent) could face an indirect impact due to higher  unemployment, supply-chain disruptions and weaker demand. The regulator, following an order from the Sri Lankan president, directed banks to implement a debt moratorium on capital plus interest for six months for businesses in several sectors affected by the coronavirus. This may soften the impact in the near term, but we now expect the sector NPL ratio to rise in 2020. 


The series of expansionary monetary policy measures adopted by the regulator since April 2019 will lead to margin pressure through lower interest rates and subdued credit demand. Fitch believes that this, together with high levels of provisioning and credit losses, will negate the benefits to banks’ profitability from lower taxes announced last year. Furthermore, banks with significant equity trading portfolios could see large mark-to-market losses with Sri Lanka’s main equity index declining around 25 percent year to date. 


Domestic funding and liquidity should remain supported by the expansionary monetary policy stance but sourcing wholesale or term foreign-currency funding could be challenging, both in terms of accessibility and pricing, amid the sharp increase in yields for emerging markets such as Sri Lanka. At end-2019, 23 percent of the sector’s funding was in foreign currency with 14 percent in deposits and 9 percent in borrowings. The spread of the virus to countries with a significant number of Sri Lankan migrant workers could also crimp remittance inflows and thereby banks’ foreign-currency deposit base”.  

 

Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

Sell your vehicle & house fast with hitad.lk only cost is Rs.400, Advertise in Hitad.lk for free to sell your mobile phone. Want to sell your Pet, Advertise for Free in hitad.lk Search for Houses in Sri Lanka and find the best place through Hitad.lk find your best tuition place. Find the best partner for you, visit hitad.lk Find anything at any time hitad.lk.

  Comments - 0

Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

Sell your vehicle & house fast with hitad.lk only cost is Rs.400, Advertise in Hitad.lk for free to sell your mobile phone. Want to sell your Pet, Advertise for Free in hitad.lk Search for Houses in Sri Lanka and find the best place through Hitad.lk find your best tuition place. Find the best partner for you, visit hitad.lk Find anything at any time hitad.lk.


Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment




Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

Sell your vehicle & house fast with hitad.lk only cost is Rs.400, Advertise in Hitad.lk for free to sell your mobile phone. Want to sell your Pet, Advertise for Free in hitad.lk Search for Houses in Sri Lanka and find the best place through Hitad.lk find your best tuition place. Find the best partner for you, visit hitad.lk Find anything at any time hitad.lk.


Free-fall of the nation Where is the alternative to ruinous Gotabaya regime?

There is a great deal of ruin in a nation, Adam Smith once said - meaning tha

Gotabaya, Ranil and the Frog and Scorpion Fable

Let me rewind back to my boyhood when I first read the fable about the scorpi

Four-day work week: Can Govt. reap what it sows?

This week, Sri Lanka joined a growing list of countries experimenting with th

Sri Lanka’s Al Capone Syndrome threatens human security

Be it Al Capone, Pablo Escobar, El Chapo or any other crime boss, violence in