KATHMANDU, Dec 1 : Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) is collecting Rs 5 billion from the banks and financial institutions (BFIs) through deposit auction instrument.
The central regulatory bank had introduced this new instrument through its Monetary Policy for Fiscal Year 2014/15 after its other short-term instruments, including frequent reverse repos, failed to resolve the liquidity surplus problem in the banking system. NRB is holding bidding for deposit collection on Tuesday.
This is the fourth time that NRB is mopping up liquidity from BFIs through this instrument. The central bank has already collected Rs 40 billion through three auctions over the past three months.
NRB decided to use this instrument one more time as Rs 20 billion collected through the first auction on August 20 went back into the banking system again. The maturity period of the deposit auction is 90 days.
"It seems that the financial market has not been able to absorb the liquidity after the deposit collected by the central bank returned to the respective BFIs with the end of the maturity period," NRB Spokesperson Manmohan Shrestha told Republica. According to Shrestha, the banking system has liquidity excess to the tune of Rs 40 billion.
Though BFIs can count their deposit in NRB as the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR), the returns to them have remained negligible so far due to the competitive bidding process.
The interest rates of the deposit auction are fixed through the auction. The weighted interest rate of the last deposit auction held in September for Rs 10 billion was 0.7488 percent.
Bankers, however, say the government and NRB should come up with new policy to resolve the problem in the long run. "Due to excess liquidity, BFIs are compelled to dispose of their deposits at interest rates slightly above zero percent which even does not cover our paper cost," Nepal Bankers Association´s President Upendra Poudyal told Republica.
"Our liquidity is in a comfortable situation after the central bank introduced this instrument. But the problem will continue to haunt us unless we make big investments in mega projects," he said, adding, "For that, there should be favorable investment climate in the country."