Sunday’s fallout also prompted the Capital Market Reform Struggle Committee, led by investor Ram Krishna Dhakal, to demand the resignation of NRB governor Maha Prasad Adhikari for activities that have negatively influenced the share market.
The committee has put forward 15-point demands including the limit of Rs120 million on margin loans brought by the central bank through monitory policy to be scrapped, the cap on dividends distributed by microfinance companies to be removed and the provisioning be modified.
As per the NRB’s new stricter monetary policy, banks and financial institutions are allowed to give a maximum loan of Rs40 million to an individual or institution on the security of shares. Similarly, an investor can take a loan of only Rs120 million by pledging shares.
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The NRB didn’t only tighten its monetary policy, but all subordinate banks were also placed under strict restrictions, effectively banning them from share trading.
To be clear, the NRB’s austere policies have caused the market correction by dislodging the confidence of large and institutionalised share traders, says share market analyst Mukti Aryal.
The Sarbottam Cement share scandal, in which Nepal Securities Board Chairperson Bhishma Raj Dhungana and Nepse CEO Chandra Singh Saud engaged in insider trading on IPOs, had recently dented confidence in the fledgling stock market.
But the only way forward is for the NRB to examine its restrictive policies, adds Aryal: “The tightening of stock pledges is the chief reason for the market’s decline. Pledging one’s own assets as securities for trading should not be restricted.”
However, instead of agitating against the regulatory bodies, investors themselves must adopt careful share-trading practices, says a share broker, adding that it is natural for the market to fall after being propped up by companies that very recently had bad portfolios.
“If investors had invested in companies with solid portfolios, none of this would be happening,” he says. “Instead of investing smartly in profitable companies, investors hedged their bets on hydropower projects, development banks and finance, following the market rumours rather than prudent investment.”
Translated by Kaustubh Dhital from the Nepali language original in Himal Khabar.