India Keeps Policy Rate at 8%

At its September 30th meeting, the Reserve Bank of India left the repo rate on hold at 8 percent, waiting for more evidence that inflation rate is slowing.
RBI l Rida l 9/30/2014 4:31:51 PM
The cash reserve ratio was left on hold at 4 percent of net demand and time liabilities (NDTL). Policymakers also decided to: reduce the liquidity provided under the export credit refinance (ECR) facility from 32 percent of eligible export credit outstanding to 15 percent with effect from October 10, 2014; continue to provide liquidity under overnight repos at 0.25 per cent of bank-wise NDTL at the LAF repo rate and liquidity under 7-day and 14-day term repos of up to 0.75 per cent of NDTL of the banking system through auctions, and kept the daily one-day term repos and reverse repos to smooth liquidity. Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF will remain unchanged at 7.0 percent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 9.0 percent.

Excerpts from the statement by Dr. Raghuram G. Rajan, Governor:

Retail inflation measured by the consumer price index (CPI) came off the vegetable prices-driven spike in July 2014 and eased in all major groups barring food. Large and persistent upside pressures on food prices have resulted in their contribution rising to almost 60 percent of headline inflation in August. The full impact of the skewed rainfall distribution carries risks to the future path of food inflation, though vegetable prices have fallen recently after the recent spike. CPI inflation excluding food and fuel decelerated to its lowest level in the new series, mainly on account of sharp disinflation in transport and communication and household requisites. Future food prices and the timing and magnitude of held back administered price revisions impart some uncertainty to an otherwise improving inflation outlook, where lower oil prices, a relatively stable currency, and a negative output gap continue to put downward pressure. Base effects will also temper inflation in the next few months only to reverse towards the end of the year. The Reserve Bank will look through base effects.

Liquidity conditions have remained broadly balanced through Q2 of 2014-15, except for transient tightness in the second half of July and early August due to delayed Government expenditure. Thereafter, as these expenditures began to flow, liquidity conditions eased. With credit growth falling well below deposit growth in August and September, structural sources of liquidity pressures also eased. The average recourse to liquidity from the Reserve Bank, measured by daily net liquidity injection through LAF, term repo and MSF, decreased from `870 billion in July to `795 billion during August and further to `450 billion during September so far (up to September 28). The Reserve Bank revised its liquidity management framework with effect from September 5, 2014, with more frequent 14-day term repos and daily overnight variable rate repo operations, to ensure flexibility, transparency and predictability in liquidity management operations.

Non-food credit growth decelerated in September 2014, the lowest level since June 2001, despite liquidity conditions remaining comfortable and deposit growth remaining normal. Partly, this sharp deceleration is on account of a high base – monetary tightening to curb the exchange market pressures in July-September last year raised interest rates on alternative sources of funds and pushed up the demand for credit from the banking system. Adjusting for these base effects, non-food credit growth would have been around 11 percent in September 2014. Corporates have also opted to raise financing through alternative sources such as commercial paper, which are significantly larger than a year ago.

India Keeps Policy Rate at 8%