RBI maintains status quo in policy rate for 5th time now

RBI repo rate remains unchanged for the fifth consecutive time at 6.5%.

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Courtesy: RBI

Update (December 8, 2023, 10:41 AM): The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its December review meeting unanimously decided to keep the policy repo rate unchanged at 6.5%, thus maintaining status quo for the fifth straight time.

Deliberating the policy statement on Friday morning, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das attributed declining inflation as reason behind maintain status quo the policy stance.

Retail inflation in India continued to ease through October, supported by a relative decline in some of the sub-indexes. The October consumer price index (CPI) came at a four-month low of 4.87% against 5.02% the previous month. Retail inflation in India though, is in RBI's 2-6% comfort level but is above the ideal 4% scenario.

Another pause in repo rate? RBI to announce monetary policy today

Participants in the Indian financial markets will be keenly watching for new signals regarding the central bank's policy stance and announcement, which is expected at 10 am on December 8, Friday. Shaktikanta Das, the governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will share the details today. 

The monetary policy committee will probably keep things as they are and not change. Most market analysts and experts are expecting another pause in the repo rate, holding it at the current level of 6.5%.

This expectation is based on various factors, including:

Persisting inflationary pressures: 

While inflation has shown signs of moderation in recent months, it's still above the RBI's target range of 2-6%. This is likely to prompt the RBI to maintain a cautious stance and avoid lowering interest rates.

Strong economic growth: 

India's economy is expected to grow at a robust 6.5% in FY24, according to the RBI's latest forecast. This provides some leeway for the central bank to hold rates steady.

Tighter liquidity conditions:

The RBI has been draining excess liquidity from the system through various measures. This has kept interest rates relatively high and is likely to continue in the near term.

However, there are also some potential risks that could lead the RBI to change its stance:

Global economic slowdown: 

The global economy is showing signs of slowing down, which could impact India's export-oriented growth. This could lead the RBI to consider cutting rates to support economic activity.

Sharp depreciation of the Indian rupee: 

The rupee has depreciated significantly against the US dollar in recent months. This could lead to imported inflation and prompt the RBI to raise rates to defend the currency.

Overall, the most likely outcome of today's policy decision is a pause in the repo rate. However, it's important to remain cautious and monitor the evolving economic situation for any potential changes in the RBI's stance.