Diokno nixes cut in banks' RRR for now

May 25, 2020

Bangko Sentral Gov. Benjamin Diokno discounted the need for another cut in banks’ reserve requirement ratio anytime soon since domestic liquidity remains ample but hinted for more policy rate reduction.

During the virtual seminar hosted by the Makati Business Club, Diokno explained that monetary policy works with a lag.

He said the BSP’s policy-making Monetary Board cut banks’ RRR and the policy rates only last March and April and they are currently observing how these decisions are affecting the domestic economy.

“We took a pause. Right now there’s ample liquidity in the system. No pressure to cut reserve requirement,” he said.

Last March, Diokno announced a 200 basis points reduction in universal and commercial banks’  RRR effective April 3.

This reduction is half of the maximum of 400 basis points that the MB authorized him to implement this year.

It is expected to release about P190 billion to P200 billion worth of liquidity into the system, which authorities said is needed for banks to increase their lending activities and support economic activities during the pandemic.

To date, U/KBs’ RRR is 12 percent.

Diokno has repeatedly said he plans to bring down the banks’ RRR level to a single digit by the end of his term in 2023 since the country has a high RRR level in the region.

Relatively, the BSP’s overnight reverse repurchase rate to date is at 2.75 percent, the overnight lending rate is 3.25 percent, and the overnight deposit rate is 2.25 percent.

These have been reduced by a total of 125 basis points since the start of the year as inflation continues to decelerate.

As of April, inflation averaged 2.6 percent, higher than the BSP’s 2-percent average projection for this year.