RBI to maintain 'prolonged pause' before next rate cut: HSBC

Tunia Cherian | | Updated on: Aug 16, 2017
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Inflation numbers have risen as expected and the Reserve Bank will go in for a “prolonged pause” before cutting rates again, said a brokerage report.

“We expect the RBI to be on a prolonged pause from here onwards with the risk of a 0.25 per cent rate cut (to our assumption) by the year-end if retail inflation undershoots the 4 per cent target by a comfortable margin,” economists at British brokerage HSBC said in a note today.

The note comes two days after data showed that headline consumer price inflation (CPI) almost doubled to 2.36 per cent for July from 1.54 per cent in the previous month, and a day after the wholesale price inflation also shot up to 1.54 per cent from being negative in the previous month.

The brokerage attributed the jump in inflation numbers to rising vegetable prices, but underlined that core inflation excluding food, fuel ticked up after moderating for three straight months.

The housing index also rose to 5 per cent from 4.7 per cent in June, partly reflecting one-sixth of the impact of the Seventh Pay Commission-mandated housing rent allowance (HRA), the report said.

“We expect the HRA impact to show up further over the next six months. Thankfully, the RBI has mentioned that it will overlook this direct statistical impact of HRA, so prima facie, the rise in core inflation is nothing to worry about,” it said, adding the impact from HRA was only 0.1 per cent to the overall number.

Pointing to the jump in core inflation, the brokerage said it is not just core inflation that pushed up the number.

The GST rollout also had some impact on the inflation print, it said, and pointed to the increase in tobacco prices.

“Looking through the short-term noise created by policy changes, we believe that underlying inflation is at 4 per cent. Another way of saying this is that the RBI has met its inflation target of 4 per cent in record time.”

It can be noted that under the inflation targeting framework, the central bank is tasked with getting the price rise down to 4 per cent in the medium-term.

With signs of inflation ebbing to its comfort, it cut its key rates by 0.25 per cent in the last policy review while maintaining its neutral stance on policy.

Published on January 09, 2018

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