On the basis of indicators such as oil consumption, electricity consumption, e-way bill and toll collections, along with capacity utilisation of companies in auto, steel, FMCG sectors, HDFC Bank managing director Puri concluded that the economy “appears to have recovered sharply from April” during the bank's Q1FY21 earnings call on July 18. However, this recovery could see moderation in future because some of this is “pent-up demand from the lockdown phase that could lose steam”, steady rise in infections and greater dispersion of cases across the country remain policy challenges, and partial lockdowns across the country could throttle full recovery. Significantly, Jimmy Tata, HDFC's group head and chief risk officer, acknowledged that even before the COVID-19 crisis hit, "there was a slowdown in the economy for a good 18-24 months". HDFC is at least the third company to acknowledge that the economy was already in a weakened state before the pandemic's onset, followed by similar admissions from B2B platforms Just Dial and IndiaMART, which said that an already weak economic situation was only exacerbated by the pandemic. The financial turmoil of the last couple of years had hit SMEs the most. Corporate collections reflect recovery in telecom, agriculture, pharma: In April, because of the lockdown, Rahul Shukla, group head of corporate banking, business banking and healthcare finance, said that HDFC believes “that there was simply no activity” and corporate collections in April 2020 were 45% of what they were in April 2019. Corporate collections in June 2020, however, were 94% of…
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