RBI Policy: CRR unchanged, repo rate up by 25bps to 8%

raghuram rajan rbi governer






By Accommodation Times News Service

The reverse repo rate now stands at 7 percent, while the MSF and the Bank Rate stays at 9 percent. CRR has been left unchanged at 4 percent. The street had predicted status quo on the basis of slightly softer inflation in December

In its third quarter review of monetary policy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) hiked repo rate by 25 basis points to 8 percent, entirely reversing street expectations of a status quo. The move, which caught the market off guard, actually reflects the RBI’s much-anticipated shift towards CPI-based policymaking, in keeping with Uijit Committee recommendations.

Repo rate is the rate at which the central bank lends money to banks. The reverse repo rate or the rate at which the RBI borrows from banks, now stands adjusted at 7 percent, while the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 9 percent. Cash Reserve Ratio or CRR (the amount banks are required to keep with the RBI) has been left unchanged at 4 percent. Although the extent and direction of further policy steps are said to be data dependent, the RBI assured a pause in its tightening stance if the disinflationary process evolves according to its baseline projection. The Patel panel has set an objective to bring CPI down below 8 percent by January 2015, and sub 6 percent by January 2016.

The central bank governor Raghuram Rajan’s inflation targeted-policy states that the increase in policy rate has been undertaken to tame the retail inflation, which remains elevated at close to double digits. However, what foxed experts is that inflation, measured both by the wholesale price index (WPI) and the consumer price index (CPI) moderated to 6.2 percent and 9.8 percent respectively in December. Based on moderating inflation, the street has been expecting the RBI to keep rates unchanged. In its previous policy too, governor Rajan had left policy rate unchanged.

But Rajan maintained “only by bringing down inflation to a low and stable level that monetary policy can contribute to reviving consumption and investment in a sustainable way.” He promised that if inflation eases at pace faster that what the apex bank anticipates and if the fall in prices can be sustained, then the Reserve Bank will have room to become more accommodative. He said the so-called trade-off between inflation and growth is a false trade-off in the long run.

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