Happy days ahead! Cash crunch may ease by Feb-end, says SBI report

MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank of India replaced as much as 44% of the currency extinguished by demonetisation with new notes by December 30, according to a State Bank of IndiaBSE 0.20 % report.

India’s currency supply is likely to return to near normal by February end and growth, which has been hit by the withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, is likely to bounce back faster than earlier expected, said the analysis by India’s largest commercial bank.
December 30 was the last day on which the public could deposit old notes with banks following the November 8 demonetisation announcement. The level of replenishment is perhaps not rising faster because the central bank, having initially focussed on pumping new Rs 2,000 notes into the system, is now concentrating on currency of lower denominations, SBI group chief economist Soumya Kanti Ghosh told ET.

The SBI report forecast that, by the end of this month, 67% of the cancelled currency will get replaced if the central bank prints notes of various denominations at the current pace, and to 80-89% by the end of next month.

“Either way, contrary to market perception, things will be closer to normal by February-end as opposed to predictions of the crisis lasting longer,” Ghosh said. “If this is the case, the possibility of a GDP bounce-back faster than anticipated may not be ruled out.”

COUNTING OLD NOTES

Separately, the central bank said it was too early to put a value on the amount of old notes that have been deposited after Bloomberg said 97% of the scrapped notes were back in the system in what it described as a setback to the fight against black money and corruption.

“We would like to clarify that the periodical SBN (specified bank notes) figures released by us were based on aggregation of accounting entries done at the large number of curreĀ ..

CASH CONFUSION

There has been some confusion regarding the exact amount of cash that ceased to be legal tender starting November 9.

According to the weekly data that RBI puts out, between November 4 and December 30, total currency in circulation contracted from Rs 17.97 lakh crore to Rs 9.38 lakh crore. In its reply to a Right to Information (RTI) query, the central bank said total cash amounted to Rs 24 lakh crore on November 8 and of this, Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes added up to Rs 20.51 lakh crore, or 85%. The RBI later clarified that this included money in currency chests that hadn’t been distributed to the public.

An affidavit filed by the government in the Supreme Court pegged the proportion of withdrawn notes at 86% or Rs 15.25 lakh crore out of a total Rs 17.74 lakh crore. The difference in both the figures is because the total figure includes currency in chests not available to the public.

The finance ministry had said earlier that by December 10, Rs 12.44 lakh crore of old notes had been deposited but clarified that double counting may have taken place due to inter-bank deposits and new notes coming back to the system. RBI sought details of scrapped notes returned to currency chests to ascertain the total quantum of old notes returned to the system, banks said.

Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/finance/67-cancelled-notes-likely-to-get-replaced-by-month-end-80-89-by-feb-end-sbi-report/articleshow/56362503.cms?from=mdr

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