Cut: Repo by 25 bps, GDP by 80 bps

RBI likely to go for 5th straight repo rate cut in MPC meet today

In its August MPC meet the RBI had surprised everyone by going for a 35-basis-point cut

"Most lenders link their loan to the repo rate, but given the flexibility to charge a spread or mark-up, the final lending rates are yet to come down in a commensurate manner".

All six MPC members voted in favour of a rate cut and for retaining the accommodative stance. To its credit, the MPC has faithfully and succinctly provided its analysis and assessment of the current situation: underlying the growth deceleration for five consecutive quarters culminating in a dismal 5 per cent in the first quarter of 2019-20 from the demand perspective was a sharp slowdown in private consumption expenditure to an 18-quarter low, and a muted gross capital formation for the last two quarters.

The MPC also maintained its policy stance as "accommodative", which implies that it is open to cutting cut rates in the future as long as inflation is managed.

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If the RBI announces a further rate cut of up to 25 bps, it will be the fifth in a row by the apex bank.

The RBI statement said these decisions are 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.

"RBI marginally revised up retail inflation forecast to 3.4% for Q2, but retains estimates for H2 at 3.5-3.7%", Governor Shaktikanta Das said after the Monetary Policy Committee meeting. That has raised expectations the RBI will be forced to further downgrade its growth projection of 6.9 percent for the current fiscal year. For H2 2019-20, real GDP growth was earlier projected in the range 7.3-7.5%, which is now changed to 6.6-7.2 percent for H2, with risks evenly balanced.

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The ministry said it had taken note of the revised growth projections by the Monetary Policy Committee, as well as those made recently by other bodies such as the International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank.

"While the recent measures announced by the government are likely to help strengthen private consumption and spur private investment activity, the continuing slowdown warrants intensified efforts to restore the growth momentum".

26% said that they would cut down on their spending on non-essentials in the coming year. These external benchmark linked products would be re-priced at a much rapid pace of three months. The 10-year benchmark bond yield rose to 6.63% from 6.59% before the announcement, while the rupee weakened slightly to 70.97 per dollar. "The interest of the depositor has highest priority", said Das.

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The central bank has already slashed repo rate four times consecutively this year amounting to 110 basis points in aggregate. "With the busy and festive season having started, this rate cut will boost market sentiments".

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