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    New Delhi: With retail inflation receding to record low levels, the six-member monetary policy committee (MPC), headed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel likely to cut the benchmark lending rate by at least 0.25 percent in its third bi-monthly monetary policy review on Wednesday afternoon (August 2).

    A significant moderation in retail inflation over the past three months has reinforced calls for further monetary policy easing from the central bank, which changed its stance to neutral from accommodative at the start of the year.

    At its second bi-monthly monetary policy review of the fiscal on June 7, the RBI maintained status quo on its repo or short-term rate for lending to commercial banks, at 6.25 percent. In doing so, the policy statement said the six-member Monetary Policy Committee was guided by the risks to inflation.

    The central bank last cut its key interest rate in October 2016.

    Structural factors and production trends signal that food inflation should settle around 2-3 percent over the next few months, said DBS, a leading Asian bank with focus on further expanding in India.

    Downside risks from other factors are also notable - low oil prices, strong rupee, normal monsoon and disinflationary impact from Goods and Services Tax (GST) changes, according to the bank.

    Beyond the mechanical uplift from housing rent allowance changes, concerns over second round effects are not likely to materialise, it noted.

     

    A SBI report also said that most inflation risks are now on the downside and expect the retail inflation to be sub-2 percent for the next month, sub-3 percent for August-September and sub-4 percent for October-November and 4-4.5 percent between December and March.

    For 2017-18, CPI inflation average could thus be below 3.5 percent with a downward bias, the report added.

    The retail inflation, which the RBI mainly factors in while deciding interest rate, has declined to historical low of 1.54 percent in June. The wholesale price inflation for the month too has dropped to eight month low.

    Commenting on the retail inflation data, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian had said the "paradigm shift" in inflationary process has been missed by all, who have made "systematic inflation forecast error", apparently referring to the RBI.

    In the MPC, RBI Governor Urjit Patel had argued for avoiding "premature policy action" and waiting for more inflation data.

    "Incoming data is expected to provide greater clarity on the durability of recent food and non-food disinflation," he had opined.

    One of the MPC members, Ravindra Dholakia, however, had advocated a 50 basis point cut in the repo rate, saying several noteworthy developments recently on prices and output fronts warrant a decisive policy action.

    As always, India Inc has been pitching for the rate cut to stimulate growth.

    Citing inflation at a five-year low and deceleration in factory output, Assocham has written to RBI Governor Urjit Patel for at least 25 basis points cut in the policy interest rate.

    "The wholesale price index (WPI) also eased to 0.9 percent from 2.17 percent. The case for rate-cut is additionally strengthened by easing of food inflation to (minus)2.12 percent from 0.31 percent. Good monsoon forecasts for the current financial year have additionally created a stance for further reduction in the food inflation," Assocham said.

    "The deceleration in factory output growth could further bolster the case for a rate cut next month to boost Asia's third-largest economy, which grew 6.1 percent in the January-March quarter -- its weakest pace in more than two years," it said.

    Factory output slumped to 1.7 per cent in May, from 8 per cent a year ago due to poor performance of mining and manufacturing.

    With Agency Inputs

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    RBI Monetary Policy Review: Why MPC should vote for rate cut today?
        

     

    RBI Monetary Policy Review: Why MPC should vote for rate cut today?
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    Mumbai: The 6-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) headed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel yesterday started two-day deliberations amid expectations of at least 0.25 percent cut in the key lending rate on Wednesday as inflation has cooled to record low levels.

    The meeting's outcome today is being keenly awaited by all stakeholders including industry and stock markets.

    Encouraged by significant price improvement, bankers expect Reserve Bank of India to change its monetary stance and cut benchmark lending rate by at least 0.25 percent.

    Some expect that the central bank may go for an even more aggressive rate cut as the retail inflation touched historic low of 1.54 percent in June.

    The panel, in its previous bi-monthly review in June, had retained the repo rate at 6.25 percent for the fourth straight time citing risk to inflation.

    "The MPC will meet on August 1 and 2, 2017 for the Third Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement for 2017-18. The resolution of the MPC will be placed on the website at 2.30 pm on August 2, 2017," the central bank had said last month.

    Commenting on the retail inflation data, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian had said the "paradigm shift" in inflationary process has been missed by all, who have made "systematic inflation forecast error", apparently referring to the RBI.

    In the last MPC, Patel had argued for avoiding "premature policy action" and waiting for more inflation data.

    "Incoming data is expected to provide greater clarity on the durability of recent food and non-food disinflation," he had opined.

    One of the MPC members, Ravindra Dholakia, however, had advocated a 50 basis point cut in the
    repo rate, saying several noteworthy developments recently on prices and output fronts warrant a decisive policy action.

    In a significant move, country's largest lender and market leader SBI had yesterday reduced interest rate on savings bank deposits by 50 basis points, a development which will have implications of the interest rate regime.

    With PTI Inputs

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    RBI monetary policy review today: Urjit Patel likely to cut interest rate by 0.25%

    RBI monetary policy review today: Urjit Patel likely to cut interest rate by 0.25%
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    Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to reduce its repo, or short term lending rate, at its monetary policy review on Wednesday as inflation has cooled to record low levels.

    At its second bi-monthly monetary policy review of the fiscal on June 7, the RBI maintained status quo on its short-term rate for lending to commercial banks, at 6.25 percent. In doing so, the policy statement said the six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was guided by the risks to inflation.

    Retail inflation in India during June dropped to a record low of 1.54 percent, while industrial production data showed that the growth in factory production fell to 1.7 percent in May, from 8 percent in the same month a year ago.

    Industry chamber Assocham on Sunday urged the apex bank to cut interest rates in view of the latest macro data.

    "Citing inflation at a five-year low and deceleration in the factory output, the Assocham has written to RBI Governor Urjit Patel, making out a strong case for at least 25 basis point cut in the policy interest rate when the RBI Monetary Policy Committee meets on August 2," an Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India statement said here.

    "The wholesale price index (WPI) also eased to 0.9 percent from 2.17 percent. The case for rate-cut is additionally strengthened by easing of food inflation to (minus)2.12 percent from 0.31 percent. Good monsoon forecasts for the current financial year have additionally created a stance for further reduction in the food inflation," Assocham said.

    With inflation in India falling dramatically, British financial services major HSBC said cut in key policy rates is likely as the country`s inflation differential with the world is normalising, inflation expectation is cooling and food prices are also falling.

    "All considered, we continue to expect a 25 bps (basis points) rate cut in the August 2 meeting. We expect the central bank to maintain its neutral stance, which we believe is consistent with moderate rate cuts," HSBC said in a research note.

    "We`ve said this before, and we have found new evidence since India may have already become a 4 percent inflation economy," it said.

    June was the fourth policy review in succession that the MPC had kept the repo rate unchanged.

    Announcing status quo on the key interest rate, Patel said the abrupt fall in inflation in April "from the firming trajectory that was developing in February and March has raised several issues that have to be factored into the inflation projections.

    "Considering the high uncertainty clouding the near-term inflation outlook, there is a need to avoid premature policy action at this stage. Premature action at this stage risks disruptive policy reversals later and the loss of credibility." he said.

    The MPC has the mandate of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI)inflation of 4 percent within a band of 2 percent either way.

    Since the MPC started setting rates in October last year, the June policy review was the first time it did not take a unanimous decision, with five members voting in favour of holding the rate and one opposing.

    The sole dissenting external member and IIM-Ahmedabad faculty Ravindra Dholakia voted for a minimum 50 bps cut in the repo rate.

    Three of the six members of the MPC are government nominees, while the others are from the RBI.

    Following the June monetary policy decision, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian felt the central bank had overstated the risks on inflation, noting the inflation outlook has been benign, while growth in the economy has decelerated along with slowdown in private investment, credit growth and gross capital formation.

    "Seldom have economic conditions and outlook pointed so strongly towards monetary policy easing," he told reporters then.

    A State Bank of India (SBI) report said that most inflation risks are now on the downside and retail inflation is expected to be below 3 percent for August-September, under 4 percent for October-November, and between 4-4.5 percent for December to March next year.

    According to an American expert, Indian policymakers would do well to target keeping annual retail inflation in the country in the range of 4-5 percent without aiming to lower this rate significantly.

    "Many people in the advanced economies are saying we should have been at 4 percent (inflation rate), and not be at 2 percent, which was a mistake. There is a debate on," Professor of Economics at Harvard University Kenneth Rogoff told a news channel here, referring to the prolonged phase of low inflation coupled with low growth being experienced by Western economies.

    "I think that if a lot of countries were starting from scratch, I bet they would opt for a 3 percent target," he said, adding that there were a "number of reasons for India, not to bring it (inflation) down too quickly."

    With IANS Inputs

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    RBI Monetary Policy Review today: Here's what analysts expect

    RBI Monetary Policy Review today: Here's what analysts expect
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    New Delhi: India's industrial production contracted by 0.1 percent in June as against growth of 8 percent a year ago, mainly due to poor show by manufacturing and capital goods output.

    The factory output growth, measured on the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), for April-June period decelerated to 2 percent from 7.1 percent in the same period last fiscal, as per the data released by the Central Statistics Office

    The manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75 percent of the IIP index, contracted by 0.4 percent in June compared to 7.5 percent growth a year ago.

    The data further revealed that output of the capital goods segment, considered as key indicator of investment, shrunk by 6.8 percent compared to a high growth of 14.8 percent recorded in June 2016.

    The consumer durables segment too witnessed a contraction of 2.1 percent.

    Mining sector output, however, grew by 0.4 percent in June against 10.2 percent growth in the year-ago month. Similarly, electricity generation expanded by 2.1 percent in June as against 9.8 percent growth in the corresponding period last year.

    The Reserve Bank in its policy review meet this month has lowered its key lending rate by 0.25 percent, a move which is likely to translate into lower interest rates for home, auto and other loans as also boost economic activity.

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    India's industrial output growth in negative zone, contracts 0.1% in June

    India's industrial output growth in negative zone, contracts 0.1% in June
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    New Delhi: India's industrial output expanded by 1.2 percent in July from a year earlier due to good performance of mining and electricity, government data showed on Tuesday.

    The index of industrial production (IIP) growth was 4.5 percent in July 2016.

    The factory output growth, measured on the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), for April-July period accelerated to 1.7 percent from 6.5 percent in the same period last fiscal, as per the data released by the Central Statistics Office.

    Manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 77 percent of the index, showed a growth of 0.1 percent in July as compared to a growth of 5.3 percent in the same month last year.

    The output of mining and electricity sectors during the month accelerated to 4.8 percent and 6.5 percent from 0.9 percent and 2.1 percent respectively in June last year.

    Capital goods output, which is the barometer of investment, declined by 1 percent from a growth of 8.8 percent a year ago.

    Meanwhile, retail inflation rose to a five- month high of 3.36 percent in August due to costlier vegetables and fruits. The consumer price index (CPI) based inflation stood at 2.36 percent in the previous month.

    The August inflation number is the highest since March 2017, when it was recorded at 3.89 percent.

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    India's industrial output growth crawls at 1.2%

    India's industrial output growth crawls at 1.2%; inflation rises to 3.36%
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    New Delhi: Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday said he is working closely with the finance ministry and other departments to firm up policy initiatives along with fiscal incentives to give a fillip to industrial growth and job creation.

    Prabhu said the country's economy is doing good and it has a huge growth potential in coming years.

    "Therefore, we are putting in place all the policy frameworks. We are studying sector by sector and we are finding out wherever there is a scope for improvement," he told reporters here on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum's (WEF) India Economic Summit.

    "We are taking a lot of policy measures. I am personally working with the Ministry of Finance and the Niti Aayog and all other government institutions to provide necessary policy as well as fiscal support to ensure the industry can actually produce far more than what they are doing today which will create jobs," he added.

    The minister further said output numbers will all add to the GDP numbers.

    Speaking at a session, he said the government is taking lots of steps to improve ease of doing business in the country, "but a lot more needs to be done".

    Prabhu observed that India should be the easiest place to do business.

    "My job is to ensure that entrepreneurship to blossom in India," he said, adding that the ministry is also working on an industrial policy.

    The policy, he added, assumes significance as the future of manufacturing would not be same as it is today. "So, we are working on some of the emerging industries," Prabhu said, suggesting that excess capacity utilisation can be increased by enhancing domestic consumption and exports.

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    Govt working on fiscal incentives to boost industry: Suresh Prabhu

    Govt working on fiscal incentives to boost industry: Suresh Prabhu
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    New Delhi: India's industrial production grew at a nine-month high of 4.3 percent in August due to good performance of mining, electricity and capital goods sectors, government data showed.

    The previous high in IIP growth was recorded at 5.7 percent in November 2016.

    Meanwhile, the July IIP number was revised to 0.94 percent from 1.2 percent provisional estimates released last month.

    The factory output growth, measured on the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), for April-August period accelerated to 2.2 percent from 5.9 percent in the same period last fiscal, as per the data released by the Central Statistics Office on Thursday.

    The index of industrial production (IIP) growth was 4 percent in August 2016.

    Manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 77 percent of the index, showed a growth of 3.1 percent in August as compared to a growth of 5.5 percent in the same month last year.

    The output of mining and electricity sectors during the month accelerated to 9.4 percent and 8.3 percent from (-) 4.3 percent and 2.1 percent respectively in August last year.

    Capital goods output, which is the barometer of investment, rebounded by 5.4 percent from a growth of 0.5 percent a year ago.

    Meanwhile, retail inflation recorded at 3.28 percent in September. The consumer price index (CPI) based inflation stood at 4.39 percent during the same month last year.

    It was 3.36 percent in the previous month.

    Retail inflation has been steadily rising since June, when it eased to 1.46 percent - its slowest pace since government started releasing such figures in January 2012, based on combined data for rural and urban consumers.

    Earlier this month, the RBI left interest rates unchanged, after cutting the key rate by 25 basis points in August, while raising its retail inflation projection for October-March to a range of 4.2 to 4.6 percent, and lowered its economic growth estimates.

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    Double boost for economy: Industrial output growth rebounds; inflation cools

    Double boost for economy: Industrial output growth rebounds; inflation cools
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