FE Editorial : Donít worry
The Financial Express: Oct 25 2008, 22:16 IST
Deep despair at RBI keeping its ratesórepo, reverse repo and CRRóunchanged is not warranted. True, markets wanted cheering up. But if we look beyond the need for a pre-Diwali fix and assess the central bankís policy stance now, it is clear there has been a change. Thatís what matters because RBI doesnít need scheduled policy announcements to cut rates or ease monetary policy. And even if one were to take the extreme short-term view and say that tanking markets needed ballast on Friday, the fact that Dow hadnít risen and Asian stock markets were down would have made Indian markets depressed. In that situation, rate cuts by RBI may not have been able to lift market mood anyway. To come back to the substantive point, RBIís inflation outlook has changed. As research by some economists, including columnists of this newspaper, have shown, point-to-point annualised, seasonally-adjusted inflation is around 7% now. Thatís also the GDP deflator being used in India. Monetary policy should look forward, and the inflation outlook until around the third quarter of next fiscal indicates a declining trend. Global inflation outlook is also similar. The US producer price index shows negative inflation and commodity prices are softening. It is extremely unlikely, therefore, that RBI will be over-conservative on rates. Expect cuts sooner rather than later.
The other RBI action is on liquidity. Much has been done already. But, as has been argued in these columns, the usual playbook needs to be kept aside on this front. What RBI
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