- RBI leaves repo rate at 4.0%, reverse repo rate at 3.35%
- Most analysts had expected 25-basis-point reduction in repo rate
- Monetary Policy Committee rules out rate hike for time being
Here are 10 things to know:
With the status quo on key lending rates, the repo rate - or the rate at which the RBI lends short-term funds to commercial banks - stands at 4.0 per cent and the reverse repo rate - or the rate at which the RBI borrows - is at 3.35 per cent.
The decision on policy rates misses expectations of two-thirds of analysts in a poll by news agency Reuters, who had predicted a 25-basis-point cut in the repo rate.
The RBI Governor said the "war against COVID-19 is most intense at the current juncture and the world is bracing up for a second wave as it cautiously opens up". He said the regulatory response has to be "dynamic, pro-active and balanced", and the RBI will "remain alert and watchful and collectively do whatever is necessary" to revive the economy and maintain financial stability.
The country's real gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to remain in a contractionary mode in both the first half and the entire financial year 2020-21, the RBI Governor said in a virtual address to media.
Economic activity in the country had started to recover from the lows of April-May, but the rise in COVID-19 infections has forced re-imposition of lockdowns in several cities and states, while global economic activity has remained fragile, the RBI chief said.
Manufacturing firms expect demand in the country to recover gradually from the September quarter and to sustain through the first quarter of the next financial year, he said, but external demand is expected to remain "anaemic under the weight of global recession and contraction in global trade.
The RBI Governor announced an additional special facility worth Rs 10,000 crore - including Rs 5,000 crore to the National Housing Bank (NHB) - to support the housing as well as shadow banking sectors against liquidity disruptions.
He reiterated that the restructuring framework for troubled but healthy small businesses is already in place, which has provided relief to a large number of organisations. Mr Das said the RBI will now bring stressed MSMEs eligible for restructuring their debt, provided their accounts were classified as "standard" by March 1, 2020. This restructuring will be implemented by March 31, 2021, he said.
Mr Das said the Monetary Policy Committee expects inflation to remain at elevated levels in the July-September period, and ease in second half of the current financial year aided by a "favourable base effect". The Monetary Policy Committee has assessed that Covid-19-related supply chain disruptions persist due to COVID-19, with implications for both food and non-food prices.
The central bank has already reduced the repo rate by a total of 115 basis points since February, on top of the 135 basis points in an easing cycle last year, from 6.50 per cent.