The move is expected to increase liquidity and reduce bond yields which have surged in the last few days.
The hardening of long term yields has resulted in banks incurring large mark-to-market (MTM) losses in their investment portfolio. Since these MTM losses are partly resulting from abnormal market conditions and could be expected to be largely recouped going forward, the Reserve Bank has said that it would bring down the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) securities in held to maturity (HTM) category from 25 per cent to 23 per cent of their Net Demand and Time Liabilities (NDTL) in a progressive manner in a prescribed time frame.
The requirement stood at 24.5 per cent as at end June 2013. It has now been decided to relax this requirement by allowing banks to retain SLR holdings in HTM category at 24.5 per cent until further instructions.
Further, banks will now be allowed to transfer SLR securities to HTM category from available for sale (AFS) / held for trading (HFT) categories up to the limit of 24.5 per cent as a one-time measure. Such transfer of securities from AFS/HFT category to HTM category should be made at the lower of the book value or market value. Banks have the option of valuing these securities for the purpose of such transfer as at the close of business of July 15, 2013.
In addition, banks can spread over the net depreciation, if any, on account of MTM valuation of securities held under AFS/HFT categories over the remaining period of the current financial year in equal instalments.