Mumbai, Dec 3 : The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to administer another booster dose of lending rate cut to break the slowdown induced downward growth spiral, economists opined.
The RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will release its resolution on the monetary policy on Thursday.
In a survey conducted by IANS, economist and industry experts pointed out that despite a rise in retail food inflation, growth concerns will necessitate the RBI to go in for another rate cut during the penultimate monetary policy review for FY20.
“The spike in the CPI inflation in October 2019 has contrasted with the moderation in the GDP growth in Q2 FY2020, complicating the next policy decision,” ICRA’s Principal Economist Aditi Nayar said.
“In October 2019, the MPC had indicated that it would retain the stance as accommodative for as long as necessary to revive growth. Based on this, there appears to be a high likelihood of another repo rate cut in the December 2019 policy review, with the MPC likely to look through the vegetable price-led uptick in the CPI inflation.”
Lately, data showed that a substantial rise in food prices had lifted India’s October retail inflation to 4.62 per cent from 3.99 per cent in September.
The data also indicated that retail inflation level has breached the medium-term target for Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation of 4 per cent. The target is set within a band of +/- 2 per cent.
But, another macro-data point showed that consumption trend along with a massive contraction in manufacturing, agriculture and mining activities subdued India’s GDP growth rate down to 4.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2019-20.
“We expect more than 25 basis points cut in upcoming policy. This should take the repo rate down to at least 4.90 per cent. We think there is more steam in conventional rate cut cycle,” Edelweiss Securities’ Lead Economist Madhavi Arora told IANS.
Industry observers prescribed a range between 25 and 50 basis points to bring down the cost of finance and give impetus to consumption growth.
“Given the increased concerns on growth with the Q2 GDP print at 4.5 per cent, we believe the accommodative policy will continue in the near term and MPC will actively consider a rate cut again,” Acuite Ratings and Research’s Lead Economist Karan Mehrishi said.
“The rate cut can be between 25-50 basis points.”
Besides the GDP growth rate, other macro economic indicators like core industrial production and automobile sales have slumped.
Consequently, a monetary policy easing should allow banks to reduce their lending rates and help both consumers and the industry to get cheaper finance.
However, Brickwork Ratings’ Chief Economic Advisor M.Govinda Rao said: “This reduction will certainly not be sufficient to spur growth to the extent desired. First of all, given the low level of the household sector’s financial savings, the transmission will be sticky.”
“Besides, the hesitancy and the fear factor of the bankers to lend to the manufacturing sector have not been addressed yet.”
A faster transmission of earlier policy easing by lenders is urgently required, as high interest rates and liquidity constraints have demoralised auto, home and capital goods buyers.
“Transmission of rate cuts still remains an issue as the positive effect of the five consecutive rate cuts is not visible in the economy,” said Geojit Financial Services’ Economist Deepthi Mary Mathew.
In October, the RBI’s MPC stuck to its “accommodative stance” by reducing its key lending rate to 5.15 per cent, the lowest in around a decade.
The record low repo rate was set at 4.75 per cent in April 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis.
(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected])