As the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday surprised the markets by hiking repo rate by 40 basis points to 4.40 per cent, economists across the board felt that more such action could be seen from the central bank in the days to come.
Also there was a view that in order to control inflation, demand has been done away with.
Here are some observations by economists on the RBI’s rate hike move:
Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, Bank of Baroda
“The RBI has surprised the market with its two pronged approach of withdrawal of accommodation which is increase of repo rate by 40 bps and cash reserve ratio (CRR) by 50 bps… This is indicative of the fact that there would be more such action taken over time depending on the evolving inflationary situation. We had expected 50 bps increase in repo rate in CY2022 but would now believe that there would be a further hike of 50 bps in the year. These twin measures hence affect both the quantum of surplus liquidity in the system as well as the cost of funds,” said Mr Sabnavis.
He further said that the hike in repo rate will help to quell the build-up of excess demand pressures and hence slow down the growth in inflation though it cannot affect some of the components that are driven by global factors.
Nikhil Gupta, Chief Economist, Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd
“The RBI Governor clarifies that the hike in interest rates is to contain the second round effect of supply side shocks. To our mind, it means that while supply side factors cannot be contained by monetary policy, the RBI seems to have decided to restrict future inflation by sacrificing demand,” said Mr Gupta.
“Wait for further cuts in GDP growth. Our non-consensus forecast is already the lowest at just 6.4 per cent versus market consensus of 7.5 per cent. More importantly, nothing major has changed in the past one month to suggest such urgency. In any case, the new normal has begun in an abrupt manner for India. We can only hope for the future to be smoother,” he added.
Sujan Hajra, Chief Economist at Anand Rathi Shares and Stock Brokers, expects an immediate increase in money market rates and some transmission in the long-term bond market as well.
“The impact on the equity market is likely to be negative in the short-term,” he added.
Rahul Bajoria, Chief India Economist at Barclays said he expects the RBI to go for at least a 0.50 per cent hike at the next scheduled meeting in early June to 4.90 per cent, and take a breather only when it touches 5.15 per cent.
“Looking ahead, given the hawkish rhetoric and high likelihood of an elevated inflation print for April, the RBI will be front-loading further hikes,” he noted.