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Slim chance of RBI rate cut: Experts

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Mumbai: Financial industry experts on Monday ruled out any relief from high interest rates in the upcoming monetary policy review by the apex bank scheduled for April 7.  The Reserve Bank of India is scheduled to announce its first bi-monthly policy review for 2015 on April 7.

“Governor Raghuram Rajan is expected to hold rates this time around. The focus would be currently on the external factors and the US Federal Reserves plans for the rate hike in the US,” Jagannadham Thunuguntla, head, fundamental research, Karvy Group told IANS.

The RBI is widely expected to leave the repo rate unchanged at 7.50 percent at its first monetary policy review of the new fiscal on Tuesday, after two unscheduled rate cuts made this year.


Gaurang Shah, vice president, Geojit BNP Paribas said that the ability of RBI governor to for rate cut is also restrained by unseasonal rains which has extensively damaged crops.

“The fact that we are witnessing unseasonal rains at such time which is very critical from cutting and harvesting point of view, the fear of food inflation creeping up can’t be ruled out since the damage is very extensive; this may also limit the rate cut expectation any time soon.”

According to Devendra Nevgi, chief executive of ZyFin Advisors the language of the RBI in its outlook statement would be key signal for any future rate cuts.

“The language that the RBI uses in its outlook statement would also be another key trigger for the markets. Global issues like the financial outcome in Greece would also be of key interest to the Indian markets,” Nevgi told IANS.

“The last times interest rate cut has still to be translated by the banks to lower interest rates so that consumer demand can pickup. It would be interesting to see how RBI deals with this,” Nevgi added.

Meanwhile, Vinod Nair, head – fundamental research, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services said that though RBI is likely to keep rates intact there is scope to surprise the market through cash reserve ratio (CRR), Statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) and assessment of future outlook.

According to Nair, a 25 basis points cut can be expected by June, as the recent inflation numbers does not favour for a rate cut now.

“A reduction in CRR will be a continuation of RBI’s effort to release more liquidity to persuade Banks to bring down lending rates. RBI will be very keen to understand the performance of NPA restructuring in Q4 before lowering the rate,” Nair added.

The CRR has been kept at 4 percent since 2013, while RBI had brought down SLR by 50 bps in February 2015.

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s scheduled review, is coming after the first full budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposing changes in the RBI Act, follows two previous unscheduled rate cuts since January which brought the repo rate down from 8 percent by 50 basis points to the existing one. The interest rate cuts this year came after nearly two years.