Mumbai: The BSE Sensex plunged 792 points Friday to end at a near six-month low of 34,376.99 after the RBI unexpectedly maintained status quo on the policy rate but changed its stance to “calibrated tightening” amid the rupee breaching the 74-mark.
The central bank kept the interest rate unchanged at 6.5 per cent. Sentiments were also bearish largely in tandem with a sell-off in global markets as US Treasury yields surged to multi-year highs on robust economic data and comments from the Federal Reserve, sparking fears of accelerating inflation, brokers said.
The Indian rupee Friday crashed below the 74-level against the US dollar for the first time ever after the Reserve Bank kept its key policy rate unchanged. The domestic currency was quoting 65 paise lower at 74.23 (intra-day) against the dollar soon after the RBI announced its monetary policy.
The 30-share index remained in the negative zone through the session. Selling activity gathered momentum after the RBI kept rates unchanged but changed its stance to “calibrated tightening”. The benchmark hit a low of 34,202.22, before finishing 792.17 points, or 2.25 per cent down at 34,376.99.
This is its lowest closing since April 23 when it had finished at 34,450.77 points. The gauge had lost 1,356.98 points in the previous two sessions on rupee woes and boiling crude oil prices. The wider National Stock Exchange index Nifty too tanked 282.80 points, or 2.67 per cent to close at 10,316.45 points. Intra-day, it hit a low of 10,261.90 soon after RBI’s policy announcement.
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 5:1 in favour of a status quo, with only Chetan Ghate voting for a 0.25 per cent hike. The MPC, headed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel, said that the recent excise duty cut on petrol and diesel will help contain inflation.
RBI maintained growth estimate at 7.4 per cent for current fiscal and projected retail inflation to rise to 3.8-4.5 per cent in October-March. Marketmen were expecting the six-member Monetary Policy Committee to go for at least a 0.25 per cent hike at the review.