RBI Vs COVID: Impact on Short Term Debt Funds

Central Bank waging an all-out war against Covid-19.

RBI has so-far come out all guns blazing in the war against Covid. Recently concluded MPC (27th March) saw the Repo at a historic low 4.40% & Rev Repo at 4%.

With this cut, there has been a cumulative reduction of 210bps in the Repo for this year.  

As if this was not enough, RBI further reduced the Reverse Repo to 3.75%. (17th April, 2020)

Thus widening the LAF (liquidity adjustment facility) corridor to an unprecedented 65 bps. Which means incentive for banks to park the money with RBI has shrunk considerably. 

CRR (cash reserve ratio) has also been lowered to 3% (lowest ever in India). 

To top it up – RBI has so far announced 2 TLTROs (Targeted Long Term Repo operations). First one of 1L Cr was to nudge banks to start lending to corporates above BBB- rating (which means investment grade corporates will have more liquidity from Banks). And TLTRO 2.0 of 50K Cr is to nudge banks to lend more to NBFCs and small businesses. 

All these and many more measures put together has assured that overall liquidity scenario is extremely benign with almost 4.95 L Cr liquidity being injected in the system so far.

This has lead to sharp declines in CP/CD rates across the yield curve and more sharply on the short-end. Which has resulted in better returns in Liquid/MoneyMarket/UST segments. 

NameAs on 17-Apr-2017-Mar-20Change (in bps)
1 month CP5.3%6.0%-70
3 month CP6.2%6.1%+14
6 month CP6.7%6.4%+23
1 month CD4.0%5.5%-145
3 month CD4.7%5.4%-70
6 month CD5.4%6.0%-65

RBI has also reduced the liquidity coverage ratio from 100% to 80% which effectively will mean less CD supply from banks and more liquidity with banks. 

Opportunity in Liquid & Money MarketSpace  

•         Due to RBI Actions, liquidity may begin to trickle down to the NBFC segment and even further down the line. 

•         The reserve repo is likely to remain the operational rate for some more time. 

•         This provides downward rate pressure on yields across the curve. (more so on the short end)

•         With RBI expressly stating its willingness to resort to even unconventional means to support the market, the downside risk remains limited.

•         Investors with a higher investment horizon can look to increase their alpha potential by notching up investment in liquid fund or money market fund or Ultra Short funds.

 Recommendations: For investors looking at avenues for short term parking:

1. Time horizon  10 – 30 days: Liquid funds.

2. Time horizon 31 – 180 days: Money Market

3. Time horizon  90 – 240 days: Ultra Short Term funds

4. Time horizon  240 days & above:  Low duration funds

5. Overnight funds is an avoidable category unless the time frame is less than 10 days. Returns are likely to hover in the range of 2.75% – 3% for this category.

6. Kindly note that we continue to maintain our negative stance on Credit Risk and Income funds (long end).

The fiscal strain will show up in the near future and huge borrowings can lead to a sharp spike in yields on the long-end of the curve. 

For any further portfolio specific details, please feel free to reach out to us at Moneyfront (+91-9999-696-045)

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