Credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service on Monday said banks in India, Saudi Arabia and South Africa would post larger increases in margins in FY23 amid moves to curb inflation in these countries.

Moody's said the hike in policy rates in many G-20 emerging markets to curb inflation will improve the margins of the banks as usually a more rapid acceleration of inflation would necessitate higher loan-loss provisions, erasing margin gains.

Indian Banks forecast
New Delhi: Indian Bank employees protest against finance minister during two-day bank strike in New Delhi on Thursday, December 16, 2021 . (Photo: Qamar Sibtain/IANS)IANS

"Orderly, gradual increases in interest rates will improve banking profits in most emerging market banking systems. As a result, Moody's expects banks in India, Saudi Arabia and South Africa to post comparatively larger increases in margins in 2022-2023," Moody's said.

The rating agency's focus is on banks in the ten G-20 emerging markets: Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey.

Emergin Markets

"Now that most central banks have tightened monetary policy to curb inflation, we expect inflation to abate in all ten emerging markets countries in 2023, helping contain asset risks for banks," said Eugene Tarzimanov, Vice President, Senior Credit Officer at Moody's.

"If inflation rates spike steeply and result in sharp increases in debt-servicing costs for borrowers, banks would have to increase their loan-loss provisions to levels that outweigh gains in margins, which would be credit negative," Tarzimanov added.

Rise in inflation levels
Rise in CPI-based annual inflation - Marco Verch

Among the ten G-20 emerging markets, Turkey has been facing the steepest inflation, which hit 73 per cent in May 2022, followed by 61 per cent for Argentina

Rising inflation rates are mainly because of supply constraints, increases in the prices of commodities and currency pressures.

Banks' credit costs also increase when inflation accelerates. An acceleration of inflation has also historically led to increases in credit costs in seven of the 10 systems.

Banks in Russia, Turkey

Moody's expects banks in Russia and Turkey to post larger increases in credit costs in 2022-2023. In a scenario where inflation accelerates materially and leads to significant rate hikes, credit costs will also rise in Argentina, South Africa and Brazil.

Asset risks for banks would outweigh margin benefits if inflation rises more sharply. An acceleration in inflation beyond Moody's expectation would lead to higher credit costs that will outweigh the benefits of gains in margins. In this scenario, the profitability of Brazilian and Turkish banks will likely deteriorate more significantly than in other markets.

(With inputs from IANS)