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could pick up in the second half of the year.
4. WPI inflation, which had eased in Q1 of 2013-14, has started rising again as the pass-through of fuel price increases has been compounded by the sharp depreciation of the rupee and rising international commodity prices. The negative output gap will exercise downward pressure on inflation, and the process will be aided as supply side constraints, especially relating to food and infrastructure, ease. However, the current assessment is that in the absence of an appropriate policy response, WPI inflation will be higher than initially projected over the rest of the year. What is equally worrisome is that inflation at the retail level, measured by the CPI, has been high for a number of years, entrenching inflation expectations at elevated levels and eroding consumer and business confidence. Although better prospects of a robust kharif harvest will lead to some moderation in CPI inflation, there is no room for complacency.
5. Turning to the external sector, weakening domestic saving, subdued export demand and the rising value of oil imports - most recently due to geopolitical risks emanating from the Middle East - have led to a larger current account deficit (CAD). Concerns about funding the CAD, amplified by capital outflows precipitated by anticipated tapering of asset purchases by the US Federal Reserve, increased volatility in the foreign exchange market. More recently, as these concerns have been mitigated after steps taken by the Government and the Reserve Bank to contain the CAD and improve the environment for external financing, the focus has turned to internal determinants of the value of the rupee, primarily the fiscal deficit and domestic inflation.
Policy Stance and Rationale
6. Since mid-July, the Reserve Bank has put in place a number of exceptional measures to tighten liquidity with a view to dampening volatility in the foreign exchange market. These measures have raised the effective policy rate for monetary policy operations to 10.25 per cent, aligned to the re-calibrated MSF rate. The intent has been to maintain tight liquidity conditions at the short end of the term structure until the measures designed to alter