The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept its policy rates on hold at 6 percent on Wednesday, maintaining a neutral stance in line with the market expectations, even though inflation has crossed its medium-term target.
Shishir Baijal, Chairman & Managing Director, Knight Frank India said that the Reserve Bank's move to keep the repo rate unchanged amid collective pressure from sharp spikes in crude prices, surge in bond yields, and retail inflation breach, came as a relief for real estate.
John Wraith, an economist at UBS, said: "The stronger-than-expected out-turn for fourth-quarter GDP (gross domestic product) and the better momentum the economy starts 2018 with as a result could give the MPC a window of opportunity to raise Bank Rate by the middle of the year". All other rates also remained the same.
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Policymakers reiterated that they are committed to keep headline inflation close to 4 percent. The signals from the policy resolution, despite the status quo on rates, is unambiguous.
The central bank highlighted higher oil prices and fiscal deficit slippages as potential risks to inflation on one hand, but also echoed concerns of government and businesses over weak economic growth.
Growth for the fiscal year 2018-19 was estimated at 7.2 percent - in the range of 7.3-7.4 percent in the first half and 7.1-7.2 percent in the second half. Banks, led by State Bank of India, have already raised bulk deposit rates by up to 140 basis points.
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The MPC noted that the economy was on the path to recovery besides showing early signs of a revival in investment activity.
On the positive side, MPC said there are mitigating factors like subdued capacity utilisation and moderate growth in rural wage, while welcoming the focus of Union Budget 2018-19 on rural and infrastructure spending.
On higher minimum support price for farm produce, the RBI sought some more time to assess its impact on prices.
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On volatility in global financial markets, RBI said it is due to uncertainty over the pace of normalisation of the US Fed monetary policy. Here are 4 key reasons why the slipped 561 points on Tuesday: Bond yields Strong prospects of the Fed hiking interest rates in the next month has led to a spike in U.S. bond yields, which touched 2.89%, highest level in almost four years.