On the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in its Fourth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2018-19, has made a decision to retain the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) at 6.5 per cent, last adjusted in August this year.
In the RBI's fourth bi-monthly policy announcement, it retained the GDP growth estimate at 7.4 percent for the fiscal year ending in March 2019. Global trade tensions, rising oil prices and tightening financial conditions pose a risk to the growth and inflation outlook. Despite the rise in oil prices, the headline inflation number came down to 3.69 per cent for August as against 4.17 per cent for July. Firstly, it ascertained that inflation was in a manageable range given the recent decline in food prices.
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Patel also told reporters that the central bank will engage with and support debt-stricken ILiamp;FS in its efforts to salvage the infrastructure financing company. Indian equities fell about 1.6 per cent. Traders said the Reserve Bank of India likely intervened to curb the rupee's fall. The RBI doesn't have any target or band in mind and acts only to manage volatility. Viral V. Acharya and Dr. Urjit R. Patel voted in favour of keeping the policy repo rate unchanged while Dr Chetan Ghate voted for an increase in the policy rate by 25 bps. Government's assessment of inflation is in line with the MPC's assessment. The Japanese economy has so far maintained the momentum of the previous quarter, buoyed by recovering industrial production and strong business optimism.
"The inflation outlook calls for a close vigil over the next few months, especially because the output gap has virtually closed and several upside risks persist", said the MPC.
The fall in wholesale and retail inflation should bring relief to the Modi government battling opposition attack over high fuel prices.
With speculation growing for steeper interest rate rises, the benchmark 10-year bond yield rose as much as 10 basis points to 8.21 per cent, not far from 8.23 per cent hit in late September which was the highest since November 2014.