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RBI likely to hold key interest rates on Tuesday

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The RBI building in Mumbai.
The RBI building in Mumbai. Photo credit: AFP/Sajjad Hussain
Photo credit: indianews.com
Photo credit: indianews.com

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to hold interest rates at its monetary policy review on Tuesday and is more likely to cut rates by the end of the year when there is more clarity on the monsoons.

According to the Export-Import Bank of India, the rising trend in inflation seen over the last two months and the rainfall deficits are expected to weigh over the considerations of weak economic performance.

“Consequently, policy rate cut by the RBI in its third bi-monthly policy appears bleak. The RBI is likely to maintain status quo on rates in its bi-monthly policy meet on August 4,” it said.

Consumer price-indexed (CPI), or retail, inflation rose to an eight-month high of 5.4 percent in June riding on costlier food, fuel, housing, clothing and footwear.

While the CPI-urban for June inched higher to 4.55 percent, the CPI-rural jumped to 6.07 percent from 5.52 percent in May.

At its last review in June, RBI cut the repo rate, at which it lends short-term to commercial banks, from 7.5 percent to 7.25, but left other parameters like the cash reserve ratio (CRR) and statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) unchanged at 4 percent and 21.5 percent, respectively.

It was the third repo cut this year in June, while the central bank had indicated that there may not be any further cuts in the near term.

Giving the reasons for the June policy stance, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said plans for lower food output needed to be in place, global financial markets were volatile, factory output was recovering unevenly, services sector was emitting mixed signals, fuel inflation was up, exports were down and liquidity had improved.

According to India Ratings and Research, the RBI is likely to wait and watch on rates on Tuesday.

“Ind-Ra expects the policy stance to reflect RBI’s continued intention to anchor both inflation and inflationary expectations. This has become even more important for RBI after its agreement with the government to follow a framework of inflation targeting,” it said.

Meanwhile, American research firm Moody’s Analytics, in a report this week, warned against the NDA government’s moves to tamper with the autonomy of the Reserve Bank of India in deciding on interest rates as potentially damaging for the economy.

“We believe that a government-elected panel undermines the RBI’s independence. Moving to the new model would severely dent the RBI’s competency: Credibility would be lower, politics would drive decisions, and transparency would be reduced,” the economic research company said.

The government last week released the draft Indian Financial Code, which proposes to remove the RBI governor’s veto right in the monetary policy committee.

Besides taking away the RBI governor’s authority to veto interest rate decisions, the draft also proposed that the monetary policy committee would have four representatives of the government and only three from the central bank, including the RBI “chairperson”.

“Overall, we believe that tampering with the central bank’s independence would make it difficult to anchor inflation expectations. This would weigh on India’s economic prospects, particularly financial market stability,” said the Moody’s report.

“But given the criticism of the draft bill, it is unlikely to pass parliament,” it added.

Terming the measure as a “dangerous road ahead”, it said India’s monetary policy, with Governor Raghuram Rajan at the helm, has been effective.

(IANS)

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India: Government Aims to Increase Present $2.7 Trillion Economy to $5 Trillion by 2025

The middle class literally wailed when the petrol prices shot up by Rs 2.50 per litre, diesel prices hiked up by Rs 2.30 per litre

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India, Government, Economy
Instead of making US dollar a bench mark of aspirational currency, why not work on making Indian Rupee stronger? PIxabay

The moment after the “bahikhaata” Union Budget was presented on Friday, people took to social media platforms that erupted with angry and perplexed reactions.

“Your folder is sanskaari, symbolising ‘departure from slavery of western thought’, but your aspirations are 3 trillion ‘US DOLLARS’ economy, huh hypocrite!” tweeted a user.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government aims to increase the present $2.7 trillion economy to $5 trillion by 2025.

“Instead of making US dollar a bench mark of aspirational currency, why not work on making Indian Rupee stronger?” another user posted.

India, Government, Economy
The moment after the “bahikhaata” Union Budget was presented on Friday, people took to social media platforms. Pixabay

Another social media user shared the lines from an old song: “Achcha sila diya tune mere pyar ka”.

The middle class literally wailed when the petrol prices shot up by Rs 2.50 per litre, diesel prices hiked up by Rs 2.30 per litre just hours after the union budget was presented.

“This has been one of the poorest budgets for common honest tax payer and middle class. You are bound to lose many supporters,” a user wrote in reply to former finance minister Arun Jaitley’s tweet on the budget.

“Petrol prices, diesel prices higher. What are the benefits for honest tax payers? What is the tax benefit, pension benefit, gratuity amount holding by corporate companies?? You really care for honest people (Salaried)?” another person tweeted.

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The budget also announced that for I-T returns, PAN and Aadhaar cards would be made interchangeable to help tax payers file their returns.

“So ‘PAN and Aadhaar will become interchangeable’ is somehow a tax benefit to middle-class Indians? So, you first introduce a problem, and then increase the problem, make it more complicated, and then reduce it again (but still keep it confusing) – that somehow becomes a benefit?” a user questioned the decision.

“PAN and Aadhaar interchangeable will not help middle class,” another user tweeted.

People also criticised that the issue of unemployment was not addressed seriously.

India, Government, Economy
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government aims to increase the present $2.7 trillion economy to $5 trillion. Pixabay

“Hopeless budget 2019… no help or news for unemployment,” a tweet said.

The millennials, however, had some fun with the budget.

“So, the budget has been declared, still there is no announcement on subsidy for annual subscription of Netflix, Prime and Hotstar. Is this the India we want to live in?” posted a Twitter user.

The funny memes also kept circulating.

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Depicting the “before budget” and “after budget” feelings, a meme showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi first sitting on a rock, and then lying down flat on the rock.

The images and videos of former Congress President Rahul Gandhi looking blank and later dozing off went viral. (IANS)