RBI keeps repo rate unchanged

RBI said that global growth is projected to pick up modestly in 2017, after slowing down in the year gone by

GN Bureau | February 8, 2017

#Reserve Bank of India   #RBI   #Monetary Policy Committee   #MPC   #Banking  

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday kept the repo rate, which is the short-term lending rate, unchanged at 6.25 percent.

Repo rate is the rate at which the central bank of a country lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds. Repo rate is used by monetary authorities to control inflation.

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to keep the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 6.25 per cent. Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF remains unchanged at 5.75 percent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 6.75 per cent.

“The decision of the MPC is consistent with a neutral stance of monetary policy in consonance with the objective of achieving consumer price index (CPI) inflation at 5 percent by Q4 of 2016-17 and the medium-term target of 4 percent within a band of +/- 2 per cent, while supporting growth,” said a statement.

RBI said that global growth is projected to pick up modestly in 2017, after slowing down in the year gone by. Advanced economies (AEs) are expected to build upon the slow gathering of momentum that started in the second half of 2016, led by the US and Japan. However, uncertainty surrounds the direction of US macroeconomic policies with potential global spillovers. Growth prospects for emerging market economies (EMEs) are also expected to improve moderately, with recessionary conditions ebbing in Russia and Brazil, and China stabilising on policy stimulus. Inflation is edging up on the back of rising energy prices and a mild firming up of demand. However, global trade remains subdued due to an increasing tendency towards protectionist policies and heightened political tensions. Furthermore, financial conditions are likely to tighten as central banks in AEs normalise exceptional accommodation in monetary policy.

It noted that international financial markets turned volatile from mid-January on concerns regarding the ‘Brexit’ roadmap and materialisation of expectations about economic policies of the new US administration. Within the rising profile of international commodity prices, crude oil prices firmed up with the OPEC’s agreement to curtail production. Prices of base metals have also increased on expectations of fiscal stimulus in the US, strong infrastructure spending in China, and supply reductions. Geopolitical concerns have also hardened commodity prices. More recently, the appetite for risk has returned in AEs, buoying equity markets and hardening bond yields as a response to the growing likelihood of further increases in the Federal Funds rate during the year. Coupled with expectations of fiscal expansion in the US, this has propelled the US dollar to a multi-year high.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) released its advance estimates for 2016-17 on January 6, placing India’s real Gross Value Added (GVA) growth at 7.0 per cent for the year, down from 7.8 percent (first revised estimates released on January 31) a year ago. Agriculture and allied activities posted a strong pick-up, benefiting from the normal south-west monsoon, robust expansion in rabi acreage (higher by 5.7 per cent over the preceding year) and favourable base effects as well as the continuing resilience of allied activities. In contrast, the industrial sector experienced a sharp deceleration, mainly due to a slowdown in manufacturing and in mining and quarrying. Service sector activity also lost pace, concentrated in trade, hotels, transport and communication services, and construction, cushioned to some extent by public administration and defence.

Read: Sixth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2016-17




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