RBI Seen Delivering Its Fourth Straight Rate Cut Today: 10 Things To Know

The RBI is widely expected to announce further easing of monetary policy, after three cuts of 25 basis points each in the repo rate so far this year.

RBI Seen Delivering Its Fourth Straight Rate Cut Today: 10 Things To Know

Any reduction in the repo rate by the RBI today will mark the longest stretch of cuts in over a decade

The Monetary Policy Committee, led by Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das, is widely expected to announce further easing of monetary policy in its third bi-monthly statement of the current financial year. Today's policy review comes after three cuts of 25 basis points (0.25 percentage point) each in the repo rate - or the key interest rate at which it lends short-term funds to commercial banks - so far this year. Any reduction in the key lending rate today will mark the longest stretch of rate cuts in over a decade. Economists will keenly watch the central bank's comments on the economy, which is dealing with slowing growth and consumption, and the worst corporate earnings in at least three years.
Here are 10 things to know:
  1. Almost 80 per cent of 66 economists surveyed by news agency Reuters expect the RBI to cut its benchmark repo rate by 25 bps, as growth falters. Three respondents predicted a 50 bps cut and the remaining 10 forecast the rate would be left unchanged.
  2. If the RBI does cut the repo rate by 25 basis points on Wednesday, the repo rate would to come down to 5.50 per cent, and make the RBI the most dovish among major Asian central banks. A rate cut will also mark the fourth straight bi-monthly reduction in the key lending rate, resulting in an overall decrease of 100 basis points (1 percentage point) this year.
  3. The last time the RBI made so many back-to-back cuts was after the global financial crisis over a decade ago, when most major central banks were desperate to revive economic growth.
  4. "Inflation is likely to creep up over 4 per cent in the second half of FY20... This along with softness in monsoon could keep the RBI more cautious," said brokerage Edelweiss in a note.
  5. In an interview to news agency Bloomberg last month, the RBI governor said the shifting of the stance to "accommodative" means a rate cut of 25 basis points at least. "So therefore effectively, the rate cuts has been 100 basis points if you take into account the change in stance," he said.
  6. Any measures to ease the monetary policy will be in line with a global trend, amid concerns over global growth, and the escalating trade tensions between the US and China. The broadening global economic fallout of the trade tensions has prompted many central banks, including the Federal Reserve, to cut rates. (Also read: US central bank cuts interest rates for first time since 2008)
  7. Meanwhile, India Inc has turned in its most disappointing quarterly numbers in at least three years. More than 60 per cent of 125 firms those have reported so far, and are tracked by analysts, missed profit forecasts for the June quarter, the most since at least 2016, Reuters reported citing Refinitiv data.
  8. Some also say that the RBI's assessment of the shadow banking or non-banking financial companies (NBFC) situation will be closely monitored.
  9. The RBI governor said last month that it is "difficult to say” when the shadow banking crisis finishes. “It's our effort to ensure there is no contagion,” he told Bloomberg. 
  10. GDP or gross domestic product growth stood at 5.8 per cent in the quarter ended March 31. The economy logged an average growth of 6.8 per cent for the full financial year 2018-19.

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