Saturday, 16 February, 2019

Bank cuts GDP forecasts as investment falls

RBI cuts repo rate in first policy review under new governor RBI cuts repo rate in first policy review under new governor
Laurie Berry | 09 February, 2019, 16:26

"There are still as nearly as a wide of range of possibilities as there were the morning after the referendum", Carney said after the Bank's policymakers voted unanimously to keep rates at 0.75 percent, as expected.

Ricky Knox, CEO of Tandem, says, "Consumers and investors are both uncertain about the British economy".

As a result of the announcement, Sterling dropped by 0.6% versus the United States dollar at 1.285.

The NSE index was up 0.05 percent at 11067.05, while the 10-year benchmark government bond yield fell to 7.52 percent from Wednesday's close of 7.56 percent. When looking for the best deal it is important to find an account that reflects the current interest rate.

"A decisive change in tone, with even the perpetual (MPC) hawk - Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra - joining the rate cut camp, gives further credence to our view that one more cut is on its way", said Madhavi Arora, economist at Edelweiss Securities. "They are still subtly saying that their preference is to raise rates, but it all hinges on Brexit".

As the United Kingdom approaches the March 29 deadline to leave the European Union without yet having a deal for a new relationship settled, businesses are slashing spending and consumers are growing more anxious.

Reflecting the uncertainties that have "intensified over the past three months", the Bank downgraded its forecast for business investment this year to a decline of 2.75 per cent from growth of 2 per cent in November.

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India's finance ministry had reportedly been pressuring the bank to enact policies to help spur growth ahead of the elections due by May, when Modi will run for a second term.

As predicted, the Bank kept interest rates on hold at 0.75%.

India's central bank on Thursday unexpectedly lowered interest rates and, as anticipated, shifted its stance to "neutral" from "calibrated tightening" to boost a slowing economy after a sharp fall in the inflation rate.

The surprise move came nearly a week after Modi's administration unveiled an expansionary budget, which included US$13 billion of help for consumers ahead of the poll that's due by May, and days after a top adviser to the prime minister said the RBI should cut rates.

Inflation was likely to fall below its target because of the global fall in oil prices in the coming months before bouncing back above 2 percent in a year's time. "The amount of debt purchases by the central bank beyond February will depend on the evolving liquidity situation", Governor Shaktikanta Das said.

The quarter-point reduction in the benchmark repo rate follows intense pressure late past year on the RBI to listen to government and business concerns and ease monetary policy. According to Acharya, the outlook for prices had changed in December itself following a crash in oil prices, but the central bank did not change the stance, choosing to move in small steps. German industrial production data published on Thursday raised fears that Europe's biggest economy might be heading for a recession.

Assuming a smooth Brexit, policy makers reiterated that limited and gradual rate increases will be necessary.

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