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RBI likely to keep policy repo rate unchanged in the next MPC meet: Quantum AMC
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RBI likely to keep policy repo rate unchanged in the next MPC meet: Quantum AMC

| @indiablooms | 07 Feb 2024, 11:26 pm

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to keep the policy repo rate unchanged in the upcoming monetary policy review meet, according to Quantum Asset Management.

However, there is a strong case for the RBI to change its stance from “withdrawal of accommodation” to “neutral,” it said.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das is scheduled to announce the bi-monthly policy on Thursday, with prevailing expectations indicating a likely continuation of the key interest rate pause. This anticipation stems from the fact that inflation remains close to the upper tolerance level of 6 percent.

The three-day meeting of the RBI's rate-setting panel commenced on Tuesday and the outcome announcement is scheduled for Thursday.

Quantum Asset Management Fund Manager – Fixed Income Pankaj Pathak emphasised that the financial condition has tightened a lot in the last few quarters.

He pointed out that the real rates are reasonably high and likely to increase further as inflation is trending down, while liquidity condition has also tightened with banking system liquidity running in deficit of over Rs 2 lakh crore on daily basis.

“Its impact is clearly visible in the money market with AAA rated PSU banks issuing 3 months CDs at more than120 basis points above the policy Repo rate. In the last 5 years, this spread has been close to 30-50 basis points,” Pathak said.

The RBI may announce some measures to address the persistent liquidity challenge in the baking system.

They have already started conducting VRR (variable rate repos) auctions to provide liquidity for short durations.

“However, this is a temporary solution and will not effectively solve durable liquidity shortages. Based on the historical trend of cash withdrawals, around Rs. 2 lakh crore can go out of the banking system between February and May. Thus, a durable liquidity solution is required,” he said.

The RBI might announce LTROs (long-term repo operations) or FX swaps to infuse liquidity in a time-bound manner, according to Pathak.

Another key thing to watch in this policy would be the MPC’s voting pattern. After the last monetary policy, some MPC members openly advocated for a rate cut, he said. “We might see a split voting on rates this time with one or two MPC members voting for a rate cut.” 

“The bond market is already pricing for a softer tone from the RBI. However, in case of split voting on rates, the market will increase the rate cut probability and yields might fall. RBI’s stance on liquidity can also influence the market in a significant way. By all means, this is going to be a live policy,” he underscored.

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