As retail inflation eases, RBI cuts repo rate by 25 bps, loans likely to get cheaper

By | August 6, 2017

On the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macro-economic situation at its meeting today, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India decided to reduce the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points from 6.25 per cent to 6.0 per cent with immediate effect. 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.

Following are excerpts from the bi-monthly monetary policy:

The decision of the MPC is consistent with a neutral stance of monetary policy in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 per cent within a band of +/- 2 per cent, while supporting growth.

The main considerations underlying the decision are set out in the statement below:

Since the June 2017 meeting of the MPC, impulses of growth have spread across the global economy albeit still lacking the strength of a self-sustaining recovery. Among the advanced economies (AEs), the US has expanded at a faster pace in Q2 after a weak Q1, supported by steadily improving labour market conditions, increasing consumer spending, upbeat consumer confidence helped by softer than expected inflation, and improving industrial production. Policy and political risks, however, continue to cloud the outlook. In the Euro area, the recovery has broadened across constituent economies on the back of falling unemployment and a pickup in private consumption; political uncertainty has receded substantially. In Japan, a modest but steady expansion has been taking hold, underpinned by strengthening exports, accelerating industrial production and wage reflation.

Among emerging market economies (EMEs), growth has regained some lost ground in China in Q2, with retail sales and industrial production rising at a steady pace. Nonetheless, tightening financial conditions on account of deleveraging financial institutions and slowdown in real estate could weigh negatively. The Russian economy has emerged out of two years of recession, aided by falling unemployment, rising retail sales and strong industrial production.

The modest firming up of global demand and stable commodity prices have supported global trade volumes, reflected in rising exports and imports in key economies. In the second half of July, crude prices have risen modestly out of bearish territory on account of inventory drawdown in the US, but the supply overhang persists. Chinese demand has fuelled a recent rally in metal prices, particularly copper. Bullion prices fell to multi-month lows on improved risk appetite but remain vulnerable to shi ifts in the geopolitical environment. Notwithstanding these developments, inflation is well below target in most AEs and is subdued across most EMEs

International financial markets have been resilient to political uncertainties and volatility has declined, except for sporadic reactions to hints of balance sheet adjustments by systemic central banks . In the currency markets, the US dollar weakened further and fell to a multi-month low in July on weak inflation and uncertainty around the policies of the US administration. The Euro, which has remained bullish, rallied further on upbeat economic data.

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