The Reserve Bank opted for a surprising status quo at the bi-monthly review Friday on expectations of softening price rise, but changed the policy stance to "calibrated tightening" from "neutral". A majority of the analysts and bankers were expecting the six-member Monetary Policy Committee to go at least for a 0.25 per cent hike in key rates at the review. The repo rate, at which the RBI lends to the system, will continue to be at 6.5 per cent and the reverse repo at which it absorbs excess funds will be 6.25 per cent. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 5:1 in favour of a status quo, with only Chetan Ghate voting for a 0.25 per cent hike.
The following are the highlights of the fourth bi-monthly monetary statement for 2018-19:
1. RBI keeps key lending rate (repo) unchanged at 6.5 per cent
2. Reverse repo rate stands at 6.25 per cent, bank rate at 6.75 per cent and Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 4 per cent
3. Projects retail inflation to rise to 3.8-4.5 per cent in October-March
4. Retains GDP growth estimate at 7.4 per cent for current fiscal*
5. Global economic activity becoming uneven, outlook clouded by uncertainties
6. Excise cut in petrol and diesel will moderate retail inflation
7. Rise in oil prices may have a bearing on disposable incomes, dent profit margins of corporates
8. Oil prices remain vulnerable to further upside pressures
9. Global, domestic financial conditions tightened, may dampen investment activity
10. Fiscal slippage at the centre/state to have a bearing on the inflation outlook, besides heightening market volatility and crowding out private investment
11. Inflation outlook needs a close vigil over the next few months, several upside risks persist
12. Trade tensions, volatile and rising oil prices, and tightening global financial conditions pose substantial risks to growth, inflation outlook
13. Calls for further strengthening of domestic macroeconomic fundamentals
14. Next meeting of the MPC will be on December 3-5.
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