RBI Monetary Policy Committee to meet on February 7
Mumbai, Feb 4 : The first meeting of Reserve Bank of India's Monetary Policy Committee will be held from February 5 to 7, it was announced on Monday.
With retail inflation during the October to December quarter at 2.6 per cent, the committee is likely to change its policy stance from calibrated tightening to neutral.
But many experts said it will refrain from cutting interest rates due to fiscal challenges and rising crude oil prices.
In the December monetary policy review, the RBI had kept interest rates unchanged but promised to cut them if the upside risks to the inflation do not materialise. Having raised rates twice this fiscal, the central bank retained its calibrated tightening policy stance.
While some believe that Finance Minister Piyush Goyal in his Budget speech has set the stage for a rate cut by the RBI, others remain skeptical.
Given the narrative of a global slowdown, inflation is expected to remain below the RBI's target of 4 per cent in 2018-19. This gives it a room to change its monetary policy stance.
However, the elevated level of core components such as health, education, household, and personal goods suggests that room to cut rates is limited.
At the same time, a combination of fiscal challenges and rising oil prices make for a difficult option.
Repo rate is the rate at which the RBI lends money to commercial banks. A repo rate cut allows banks to reduce interest rates for consumers on loans and lowers equal monthly installments on home loans, car loans, and personal loans.
The RBI will assess broader macro indicators and decide on interest rates. The current repo rate is 6.5 per cent. The RBI's decision on February 7 will be a key driver for stock markets in coming weeks.