ReutersMost public sector bank stocks have lost ground this year, making them one of the top sectoral laggards till date and the pain is likely to aggravate following the central bank’s move to end various loan restructuring programmes.The new guidelines come just days after State Bank of India, the country’s biggest lender by assets, said an audit by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) showed bad loans was about Rs 23,239 crore higher than what the state-run lender reported for the end of March 2017.Even private sector lenders are grappling with the problem of soured debt. The biggest private lender HDFC Bank had a 20.5 billion rupee divergence, while ICICI Bank said that it isn’t required to make disclosures on the topic, Bloomberg reported last week.Market experts believe the new measures by the RBI would lead to early recognition of bad loans, leading to higher provisioning expense that could subsequently hit their profits at least in the near term.The Nifty PSU Bank index has fallen 6 percent so far this year. In the past three months, the gauge has declined nearly 13 percent, the worst performance by any sector during the period.Top lenders such as State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of India and Union Bank of India have dropped between 6 percent to 12 percent year-to-date.Banking stocks were hammered this year after the government announced a lower-than-expected capital infusion plan last month.Fitch Ratings said that the government’s plan to infuse Rs 88,000 crore should help in part to mitigate the risks that state-run banks face, but unwinding of these risks will take some time.The ratings agency, which has a negative outlook on Indian banks, is of the view that resolution of bad assets and continued high credit costs will hinder the sector’s near-term performance.Adding to the pressure is the quick rise in bond yields, especially in the last six weeks, which would hurt banking industry’s profitability to the tune of Rs 30,500 crore in financial year 2018, reckons India Ratings and Research.The agency believes mid-sized banks would be the worst hit, considering their proportionally swollen treasury books, after a period of muted credit and large deposit growth in fiscal 2017.
BNP senior leader Moudud Ahmed. Prothom Alo File PhotoSenior BNP leader Moudud Ahmed on Thursday termed the trial of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia “nothing but an in camera proceeding”.Moudud, a senior lawyer and standing committee member of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), made the remark referring to the trial process of the BNP chief in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case at Aliya Madrasa premises in Old Dhaka’s Bakshibazar area.”I don’t think Khaleda Zia is facing any public trial. The trial is being held not in presence of the general masses. This is rather an in camera proceeding,” he said alleging that even the lawyers are often being barred from entering the court.Moudud was placing his arguments following another senior lawyer and former speaker Jamiruddin Sircar’s defence arguments on Thursday.Dhaka special judge court-5 judge Md Akhtaruzzaman adjourned the hearing for the day and ordered to place the rest of the argument on 16, 17 and 18 January.The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case with Ramna police station on 3 July 2008, during the military-controlled caretaker government.The commission accused Khaleda Zia, her son Tarique Rahman and four others allegedly for embezzling over Tk 21 million brought from abroad for using it in the welfare of the orphans.They were indicted in the case on 19 March 2014.Read More: ‘Khaleda pleads for justice’