Follow by Email

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

US Economy Slowdown and it's effects on Indian Economy

A string of foreign banks hit by the crisis have started selling down Indian papers in the overseas market at distressed rates. In some cases, banks have refused to honour credit lines they had earlier promised. But even as corporates are reeling under the increased financing costs for their deals, some Indian banks are picking up these papers at distressed rates.One of the assets, which a few foreign banks are in a haste to sell down, is the Hindalco bridge loan, which the company had taken to acquire the Canadian firm Novelis.

Banks, which gave the loan at 61 bps above Libor, are now in the market to sell it at Libor plus 150-180 bps. Banks want to offload papers before December 31 to free their capital. Such loans, primarily for acquisition financing, are given directly by the banks, with an internal understanding that the assets would be palmed off over the next two to three months. However, because of the sub prime crisis, many of these banks were unable to get any buyer for the Indian papers. This has resulted in banks offering to sell these papers at a cheaper price. Banks have country limits and also client limits. Some banks have exceeded these limits and due to the liquidity crunch are finding it difficult to sell down these assets to other foreign banks. This has given a few Indian banks the opportunity to buy these papers.

Significantly, most foreign banks are not adding to their asset book in order to keep capital free. According to sources, a large US bank has stopped issuing letters of credit to Indian customers. It has also stopped disbursing loans to new customers. Bank officials have been told to postpone disbursals till the New Year. The urgency to prune corporate loans emanate from similar capital concerns. A couple of other corporate loans have also been sold off in the past couple of months at 15-25 bps discounts. Recently, in a deal where an Indian chemical firm was taking over an US company, the foreign bank backed out of the financing deal at the last moment. The deal was finally financed by another foreign bank.

A major US bank and a couple of European banks are said to be have been affected by the crisis. According to senior bankers, Indian banks, like ICICI Bank and SBI, have been picking up papers issued by Indian companies. A few Taiwanese and Middle East banks have also been buying these papers. However, ICICI Bank which did large dollar borrowing this year has committed new loans of around $2 billion in the past one month. Corporates are also facing the heat as borrowing costs have doubled in the past few months. Bankers point out that in many transactions, Indian corporates have now started asking Indian banks to be in the deal as they feel that some foreign banks may back out if credit woes deepen.

Source: economic times

No comments: