Key takeaways from fifth bi-monthly policy meet
AMN / MUMBAI
As expected, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept the repo rate unchanged at 6.50 per cent in its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy decision of FY19 on Wednesday. The reverse repo rate, also remained unchanged at 6.25 per cent. However, it announced statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) will go down by 25 bps every quarter from January. The marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate stand at 6.75 per cent.
Inflation projection lowered: Inflation has been projected at 2.7-3.2 per cent for second half of FY2018-19 and 3.8-4.2 per cent for the first half of FY 2019-20, with risks tilted to the upside. “Although recent food inflation prints have surprised on the downside and prices of petroleum products have softened considerably, it is important to monitor their evolution closely and allow heightened short-term uncertainties to be resolved by incoming data,” the statement added. RBI Governor Urjit Patel said fall in crude oil prices will impart downward bias to inflation trajectory. Oil prices have fallen nearly 30 per cent after hitting a high of $86/barrel early October.
Fifth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2018-19
Resolution of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)
The stock markets ended nearly 1% lower on Wednesday despite a drastic reduction in the inflation forecast by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which kept key interest rates unchanged. Weak global cues also weighed on Indian stocks.
The Sensex ended at 35,884.41, down 249.90 points or 0.69%, while the Nifty closed at 10,782.90, down 86.60 points or 0.80%. Rate sensitives like banks and autos fell, with the BSE Auto index down 2.40% and the BSE Bankex down 1% during the day.
Analysts said investors expected the cut in inflation forecast by the central bank would have led to a less hawkish monetary policy. Maintaining its policy stance as “calibrated tightening”, the RBI’s monetary policy committee (MPC) reduced its inflation projection for the second half of 2018-19 to 2.7-3.2% from 3.9-4.5%, taking into account the fall in food inflation, crude oil prices and an appreciating rupee.