India: Reserve Bank of India keeps rates unchanged in December
At its monetary policy meeting ending on 4 December, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept the Bank’s policy rates unchanged, which met market expectations. The RBI left the reverse repurchase rate, the repurchase rate and the marginal standing facility rate at 3.35%, 4.00% and 4.25%, respectively.
The decision to stand pat was mainly the result of recovering but still-subdued economic activity and elevated inflationary pressures, driven predominately by higher food prices and supply chain disruptions. Moreover, inflation expectations had increased since the Bank’s previous meeting in October and are seen remaining elevated over the coming quarters—barring a sharp abatement in food price inflation. Consequently, the Bank decided to keep rates unchanged—as opposed to using the policy space available to support the domestic economy—in an attempt to cap inflation.
Regarding the outlook, all members of the committee stated the current accommodative stance should stay in place until at least the start of the next fiscal year, to ensure inflation remains within the 2.0%–6.0% target range.
Commenting on the RBI’s latest meeting, analysts at Goldman Sachs noted:
“We maintain our expectation of another policy rate cut next year given our expectation that inflation should decline from here. However if inflation—particularly food prices—stays elevated or rises further by year-end or if there are signs that elevated inflation prints this year are generalizing into higher core inflation pressures, then further policy easing may be off the table.”