Sunday, 21 July, 2019

RBI cuts repo rate by 0.25 pc to 6%

RBI to announce first bi-monthly monetary policy of 2019-20 shortly RBI cuts repo rate by 0.25 pc to 6%
Russell Knight | 06 April, 2019, 15:29

Reserve Bank of India would nudge bank chief executives to pass on the benefit of lower policy rates like it did after the previous policy as lenders had done little in transmitting RBI's policy actions without verbal persuasion, raising doubts over effectiveness of rate actions as monetary policy tool.

Any reduction in the repo rate, the key interest rate at which the RBI lends short-term funds to commercial banks, would mark the second reduction so far this calendar year, and also the second under Governor Shaktikanta Das, who assumed office in December last year. (One basis point is equal to one hundredth part of percentage) cut in, in its first bi-monthly rate review of financial year 2019-20.

"Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 5.75 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the bank rate to 6.25 per cent". However, the central bank retained its stance for the monetary policy at "neutral".

Retail inflation based on the consumer price index rose to 2.57 per cent in February, from 1.97 per cent in January, but remained well below the inflation target of 4 per cent.

"Should there be a fiscal slippage...this could crowd out private investment, impact potential output, and result in higher inflation", the RBI said in a separate monetary policy report. Apart from United States trade issues, the uncertainties in the European market due to lingering Brexit decision has contracted the industrial production during September-January.

News Agency PTI, quoting ratings firm ICRA, said that the RBI could go for a 25 bps rate cut in the upcoming meeting of monetary policy committee. The interest rate was slashed after a gap of 18 months.

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Consequently, it lowered the country's growth projection for 2019-20 to 7.2 per cent.

Since then, there are some signs of domestic investment activity weakening as reflected in a slowdown in production and imports of capital goods, it said after the three-day meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

The inflation outlook could also be upset by the perennial risk of sharply higher food prices if the monsoon season rains disappoint.

Repo rate is the interest charged by RBI from commercial banks while lending them short term money, and reverse repo is the rate at which RBI borrows money from the commercial banks.

Goyal said there a need for flexibility with the evolving situation in India, inflation and growth have softened.

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