As was widely expected, the Reserve Bank of India's rate setting monetary policy committee (MPC) on Wednesday made a decision to keep the policy repo rateunchanged at 6 per cent. The Repo rate is maintained at 6 percent and the reverse repo rate is maintained at 5.75 percent. Wednesday's status quo was third policy stance wherein RBI held rate since August 2017 when it had brought down the key lending rate by 25 basis points to 6 percent from 6.25 percent, which was much on the lines of experts' opinions.
In November the Bank's Governor, Mark Carney, had said two more rate rises were likely to be necessary by the end of 2020 to keep inflation at the official 2 per cent target.
Policymakers reiterated that they are committed to keep headline inflation close to 4 percent.
The RBI sees the inflation linked to consumer price index (CPI) rise to 5.1-5.6 per cent between April to October 2018.
Allan Monks at JP Morgan said: "There are a bunch of growth positive factors that the MPC will need to respond to next week: the fiscal changes from the last Budget, the stronger global outlook, Brexit developments and most recently the upside surprise on fourth-quarter GDP".
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To hammer home the point, the Bank said it will aim to reduce inflation over a "more conventional horizon" than before.
"The (Monetary Policy) Committee is of the view that the nascent recovery needs to be carefully nurtured and growth put on a sustainably higher path through conducive and stable macro-financial management", the central bank said.
The yield on the 10-year benchmark paper has risen to 7.56 percent from 6.4 percent during this period, owing to the government breaching its fiscal deficit target of 3.2 per cent in 2017-18.
But it now looks as though the first of two, or three hikes, could come in the first half of this year.
Figures released last Friday showed strong U.S. payrolls and rising wage inflation.
However, analysts suggest the higher MSP on farm commodities would give rise to food inflation during the procurement season starting June, which could force the RBI to reconsider its current stance on the monetary policy. The government expects 7-7.5% growth in 2018-19. The voted 5-1 in favour of keeping the rates unchanged with RBI executive director Michael Patra voting for a rate hike. The Bank has previously said that lower business investment due to the Brexit result will hold back productivity growth.
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