RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das says, expectation of rate hike in next policy 'a no-brainer'

The next meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is scheduled for June 6-8

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, May 23, 2022, 04:25 PM IST
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RBI, in its first-rate move in two years and its first hike in nearly four years, raised the repo rate by 40 basis points to 4.40 percent following an off-cycle meeting earlier this month. /File photo | Screengrab/ YouTube

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das on Monday hinted at another interest rate hike in early June to bring down the stubbornly high inflation rate which has remained above the tolerance level for the past four months.

He shared this in an interview with CNCB-TV18 where he said: Expectation of rate hike, it's a no-brainer. There will be some hike but how much I will not be able to tell now... to say that 5.15 (percent) may not be very accurate.

The next meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is scheduled for June 6-8.

RBI hikes repo rate by 40 bps

RBI, in its first-rate move in two years and its first hike in nearly four years, raised the repo rate by 40 basis points to 4.40 percent following an off-cycle meeting earlier this month.

In April, RBI raised its inflation forecast for the current fiscal year to 5.7 percent from an earlier estimate of 4.5 percent and lowered its GDP estimate to 7.2 percent from 7.8 percent for 2022-23, citing the impact of escalating geopolitical tensions triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war.

RBI, govt enter another phase to cool down inflation

Das further said the RBI and government have entered into another phase of coordinated action to cool down inflation.

RBI has taken several steps to moderate inflation in the last 2-3 months, he said, adding that the government on other hand has taken measures, including a wheat export ban and a cut in excise duty on petrol and diesel.

All these put together will have a sobering impact on price rise, he added.

Retail inflation abover RBI's upper tolerance level

Retail inflation has been above RBI's upper tolerance level for the past four months.

The government has mandated MPC headed by the RBI Governor to keep the retail inflation between 2 to 6 percent.

As per the latest print, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation increased to 7.79 percent against 6.95 percent in the previous month and 4.21 percent in April 2021.

''Interest rates in almost every country today are negative, except Russia and Brazil. The target for inflation for advanced economies is about 2 percent. Except for Japan and one more country, all advanced economies have inflation of over 7 percent,'' he said.

''We will move towards positive real rates, but it is impossible to forecast how soon because of the evolving situation,'' said the governor.

Private investment shows signs of improvement

There is a silver lining too, for the economy, as private investment is showing signs of improvement.

The rebound in domestic economic activity is gradually getting generalized, Das noted as per the minutes of the MPC meeting concluded on May 4.

''Improving contact-intensive services amidst revival in urban demand is driving personal consumption. The outlook for agriculture remains positive in the wake of the normal southwest monsoon forecast for 2022, which would support rural consumption. Investment activity is gaining momentum with higher capacity utilization and capital goods production registering an uptick,'' he had said.

Revival in domestic demand

Exports remain resilient while persisting high import growth is suggestive of a revival in domestic demand, he had said.

Nevertheless, higher global commodity prices in the wake of a long-drawn geopolitical conflict, protracted shortage of critical inputs, and policy tightening by major central banks pose downside risks to domestic economic activity, he had said.

Govt likely to meet fiscal deficit target

Regarding fiscal deficit, Das said, the government is likely to meet its target.

He also believes there may not be a need for raising the borrowing limit as well.

The fiscal deficit in 2022-23 is estimated at 6.4 percent of GDP, which is consistent with the broad path of fiscal consolidation announced last year to reach a level below 4.5 percent by 2025-26.

(With PTI inputs)

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