All loans, including auto, home, personal and other corporate borrowings, are expected to cost more following the RBI's decision. Expectedly, industry expressed its disappointment over the sharp increase in interest rates, saying the move would harm the investment sentiment
Mumbai: Personal and corporate loans will become more expensive, with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today raising key interest rates sharply for the third time in the last three months, by 0.50%, to arrest price rise.
The central bank, in its quarterly review of the monetary policy, has also revised its fiscal-end inflation projection to 7% from 6% earlier. Meanwhile, it has retained the growth project for the current fiscal at 8%, reports PTI.
With a 50 basis point (bps) hike, the repo rate (at which the RBI lends to banks) would be 8% and the reverse repo rate (at which it borrows from banks) to 7%. However, the cash reserve ratio (CRR), the amount all banks need to park with RBI, remains unchanged at 6%.
All loans, including auto, home, personal and other corporate borrowings, are expected to cost more following the RBI's decision.
Expectedly, industry expressed its disappointment over the sharp increase in interest rates, saying the move would harm the investment sentiment.
"We thought it would be 25 bps. The RBI has seen something which industry has not... investment sentiments will be muted in the next six months," Ballarpur Industries chairman Gautam Thapar told PTI.
The stock market also reacted sharply, plunging by over 300 points within minutes of the RBI's policy announcement.
"Notwithstanding signs of moderation, inflationary pressures are clearly very strong... inflation continues to be the dominant macroeconomic concern. On the basis of this assessment, it has been decided to increase policy repo rate by 50 bps from 7.5% to 8% with immediate effect," RBI governor D Subbarao said while unveiling the monetary policy.
Inflation, currently hovering above 9%, he said, would continue to guide the policy stance in future. The RBI's next review is scheduled on 16th September.
The RBI admitted that the cumulative impact of past actions to curb demand and anchor medium-term inflationary expectations will curtail growth in the near term.
Bankers are of the view that the increase in key policy rates by the RBI will definitely have an impact on interest rates, leading to loans becoming more expensive.
"The hike is more than expected and it will push interest rates by up to 50 bps," said Oriental Bank of Commerce executive director SC Sinha.
Within an hour of monetary tightening by the RBI, private sector YES Bank hiked its base rate or minimum lending rate by 50 basis points.
The bank hiked its base rate by 50 basis points to 10.25% with immediate effect, making new loans more expensive by at least 0.5%.
In its annual policy meet on 3rd May, the apex bank had increased policy rates by 50 basis points, which was followed by a 25 basis points hike at its mid-quarter review in June.
Sounding hawkish, the governor said, "Going forward, the monetary policy stance will depend on the evolving inflation trajectory, which in turn will be determined by trends in the domestic growth and global commodity prices."
Admitting there has been a moderation in growth, the governor maintained his previous estimate of 8% GDP growth for the current fiscal and identified the downside risks to growth as global commodity prices, the uncertain global macroeconomic environment and the Centre's inability to meet the fiscal deficit target of 4.6% on the back of a rising fuel subsidy bill.
"India attaches great importance to improving its infrastructure, for which about $1 trillion will be required in the coming years. This provides a great investment opportunity for foreign companies, including those from Korea," president Pratibha Patil, who is on a three-day visit to South Korea said
Seoul: Inviting investments from South Korea and other countries into the infrastructure sector, president Pratibha Patil today said nearly $1 trillion will be spent in the coming years to improve India's roads, ports, railways and other core sectors, reports PTI.
"India attaches great importance to improving its infrastructure, for which about $1 trillion will be required in the coming years.
"This provides a great investment opportunity for foreign companies, including those from Korea," Ms Patil, who is on a three-day visit to South Korea said.
"In expanding and modernising our roads, highways, airports, sea ports and railways, we will require investment from foreign entities and firms.
"We look forward to greater participation in this endeavour by Korean companies," she said while inaugurating a business interaction organised by Korea Chambers of Commerce.
"To us, in India, the Korean economic miracle is inspiring. It was the hard work of the people of this country, coupled with the successful business model that was adopted, which has created the incredible economic success that the Republic of Korea today represents.
"In India too, you spotted the economic opportunities long before others, and this first-mover advantage has enabled Korean companies to reap great profits in our country.
"Hyundai, Samsung and LG are household names in India today," the president said.
Ms Patil said that both India and Korea are exploring the possibility of upgrading the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), implemented since January 2010, to boost trade between them. A high-level discussion in this regard is to begin in late September.
"Korean companies have adjusted extremely well to conditions in India. You are also making India the manufacturing hub for exports to third countries in South Asia, the Middle East and even Eastern Europe.
"Our bilateral trade rose by 40% last year, and by current projections is slated to reach $21 billion during the current calendar year, and would comfortably reach the level of $30 billion by 2014, the target we have set for ourselves.
"President Lee and I discussed the possibility of further upgrading our CEPA," the president said adding that "expert level discussions will commence from late-September this year."
The Indian president asked the North-East nation to further facilitate exchange of expertise between the two countries in industry and service sectors.
"Our IT companies are among the best in the world, and will be able to help Korean businesses in reducing costs and enhancing competitiveness.
"Similarly, Indian pharmaceuticals are of high quality coupled with low prices, and will be beneficial to Korean consumers," Ms Patil said.
The function was attended by members of Korean Chambers of Commerce and a delegation of about 30-members led by Deep Kapuria, chairman, CII, National Committee on Automation and Robotics.
Governor says there is need to persevere with anti-inflationary stance. Bond yields sharply up, while stocks drop
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today raised interest rates by a higher-than-expected 50 basis points, indicating the seriousness of the fight against high inflation, despite slowing growth.
The central bank said it was increasing the repo rate at which it lends to banks to 8% from the previous 7.5%, and the reverse repo rate, to 7% from 6.5%. This is more than the 25 basis points increase that the market was expecting. However, the cash reserve ratio (CRR) has been left unchanged at 6%.
The indices slid immediately after the announcement with the BSE Sensex down by over 300 points (or 1.5%) and the S&P CNX Nifty losing nearly 100 points (or about 1.7%).
This is the 11th rate increase by the RBI since March 2010, which is seen as the most aggressive among central banks in fighting inflation.
"RBI continues to maintain its hawkish stance towards inflation and only signs of sustainable downturn in inflation would result in change in RBI's stance, which indicates that pause in rate hikes is not in sight and will clearly depend on the inflation trajectory," opined Abhijit Majumder, senior research analyst-institutional equities, Prabhudas Lilladher.
The wholesale price index inflation was at 9.44% in June, more than double the RBI's comfort level, and the fear is that high prices could persist through the end of the year.
The RBI also revised upwards its outlook for wholesale inflation for the current year to March 2012 to 7% from the earlier 6%.
RBI governor D Subbarao said in his policy review statement, "Considering the overall growth and inflation scenario, there is a need to persevere with the anti-inflationary stance."
But the central bank stuck with its forecast for economic growth in the current year at around 8%, saying that while some interest-rate sensitive sectors have shown signs of moderating, "there is no evidence of a sharp or broad-based slowdown as yet".
"RBI's announcement of 50 basis points increase in repo rate comes as a major disappointment to the industry. With the growth momentum already under pressure, this move will further hurt the future prospects. Even the projected growth rate of 8% for the year 2011-12 now looks difficult to achieve" said Dr Rajiv Kumar, secretary general, FICCI.
Analysts widely expected the RBI to raise rates by about 25 basis points, while some believed there would be a pause in the tightening cycle due to signs of slowing growth and global uncertainty. Latest industrial output and manufacturing numbers were the worst in nine months and January-March quarter growth was a worse-than-expected 7.8%.
"The RBI's action to raise policy rate by 50 bps against market expectation of 25 bps in part reflects its desire to send a strong anti-inflationary message to market participants and in part reflects front loading of rate hikes. We expect another 25 bps rate hike and a pause thereafter to gauge the evolving growth-inflationary dynamic; however, policy easing is not on the cards yet. While, inflation will ease in the second half of the fiscal, in part due to base effect, full year inflation will average over 8%. While there have been signs of growth decelerating, we do not expect an abrupt deceleration in growth. We maintain our full year FY11-12 GDP growth estimate of 7.6%, down from 8.5% in FY10-11," Ashutosh Datar economist at IIFL said while commenting on the RBI's rate hike.
The RBI governor said today's measures are expected to "maintain the credibility of the commitment of monetary policy to controlling inflation". They will also "reinforce the point that in the absence of complementary policy responses on both demand and supply sides, stronger monetary policy actions are required."