NPLs growing in Kazakhstan regardless of measures to reduce the figure: Fitch Ratings
Apr 02. Tengrinews
Money to be allocated out of the National Oil Fund accumulating windfall oil revenues will be only provided to banks taking obligations to reduce the share of NPLs in their loan portfolios, Newskaz.ru reports, citing Yelena Bakhmutova, Vice Chairwoman of the Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund Board.
Earlier the country’s media reported that President Nursultan Nazarbayev had instructed to allocate $5.5 billion out of the National Oil Fund to provide loans to small and middle-sized business, industrial and infrastructure projects through the country’s banks.
“The process of allocating the money is being discussed, with the banks’ willingness to reduce the share of NPLs being the major criterion to be eligible to participate in the state-run initiative”, she said when speaking at the annual Fitch Ratings conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s biggest city, April 1.
According to the country’s Central Bank, the share of NPLs in banks’ loan portfolios shouldn’t exceed 15% by 2015, with the figure to be further reduced to 10% by 2016.
“There is still lack of infrastructure enabling to get rid of toxic assets (…) if no extra measures are taken, within the following three years the issue of NPLs won’t be tackled successfully”, she said.
Roman Kornev, Director, Financial Institutions at Fitch Ratings, believes the share of NPLs is set to grow in 2014.
“We expect the NPLs indicator to grow given the effect of the recent 20% currency devaluation and with the need for some banks to acknowledge growing NPLs”, he said.
As of the end of 2013, the share of NPLs throughout the country’s banking sector stood at 31.2%. According to Fitch Ratings, in February the indicator grew to 33%.