RBI cuts repo rate by 25 basis points, shifts stance to 'neutral'
Mumbai, Feb 7 : The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) lowered interest rates on Thursday and shifted its stance from 'calibrated tightening' to 'neutral' after factoring a sharp fall in inflation rate.
This was first monetary policy review for Shaktikanta Das who took over as the RBI Governor in second week of December 2018.
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the under the liquidity adjustment facility stands adjusted to 6 per cent and the marginal standing facility rate and the bank rate to 6.5 per cent.
Das said that shift in stance to neutral provides flexibility to meet growth challenges. Farm output was expected to decelerate in FY19. Continuing deflation in food and crude led to decline in headline inflation, he said.
The central bank forecasts consumer price inflation at 2.4 in January to March period, and 3.2 to 3.4 per cent from April to September.
While the decision to change the monetary policy stance was unanimous, Chetan Ghate and Viral Acharya voted to keep the policy rate unchanged.
The MPC reiterated its commitment to achieving the medium-term target for headline inflation of 4 per cent on a durable basis. The next meeting of the MPC is scheduled from April 2 to 4.
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 instalments on home loans, car loans and personal loans.
The economy is forecast to expand at a rate of 7.2 per cent this fiscal year and rank as one of the world's fastest growing major economies.
In the interim Budget for 2019-20, the government pledged to support poor farmers and reduced tax burden for the middle class in a bid to boost consumption and growth before the general elections due in April.