Monday, 30th October 2017

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Twin triggers had prompted RBI to cut its repo rate

MPC meeting had noted benign inflation outlook and slowdown in growth

  • Published 22.02.19, 3:45 AM
  • Updated 22.02.19, 3:45 AM
  • a min read
The RBI on Thursday released minutes of the 15th meeting of the MPC that was held between February 5 and 7. (Shutterstock)

Four members of the monetary policy committee (MPC) had cited a benign inflation outlook and roadblocks to growth as they voted for a 25-basis-point reduction in the policy repo rate earlier this month.

On February 7, the RBI had unexpectedly cut the benchmark interest rate to 6.25 per cent after the six-member MPC in a 4-2 decision voted for easier rates. The interest rate setting body had also revised the monetary policy stance to neutral from calibrated tightening.

The RBI on Thursday released the minutes of the 15th meeting of the MPC that was held between February 5 and February 7.

RBI governor Shaktikanta Das in his maiden monetary policy meeting said there was a slowdown in domestic growth compared with earlier projections of the central bank.

He said more recent high frequency indicators also showed investment demand losing some traction, with the production of capital goods and import of these items contracting in recent months. There were also indications of a moderation in demand of passenger cars, consumer durables, motorcycles and tractor sales.

On the other hand, the outlook for food inflation is expected to be benign given excess domestic supply conditions in many food items.

Moreover, the lower food prices in international markets have limited the chances of exports, meaning the excess supply problem remains to keep overall inflation low. He said the CPI inflation is projected at below 4 per cent in the remaining four quarters.

However, Das cautioned there was a need to guard against some uncertainties surrounding the inflation outlook such as abrupt reversal in vegetable prices, haziness in the oil price outlook, the spike in the prices of health and education, and the impact of several budget proposals on demand.