Third Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2016-17 By
Dr. Raghuram G. Rajan, Governor
Monetary and Liquidity Measures On the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, it has been decided to:
• keep the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 6.5 per cent;
• keep the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks unchanged at 4.0 per cent of net demand and time liabilities (NDTL); and
• continue to provide liquidity as required but progressively lower the average ex ante liquidity deficit in the system from one per cent of NDTL to a position closer to neutrality.
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF will remain unchanged at 6.0 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 7.0 per cent.
1. Since the second bi-monthly statement of June 2016, several developments have clouded the outlook for the global economy. Across advanced economies (AEs), growth in Q2 of 2016 has been slower than anticipated, and the outlook is still mixed. Headwinds in the United States from declining inventory investment were offset somewhat by strong payroll numbers. In the Euro area, the re-emergence of stress in some parts of the banking sector and the Brexit vote increased uncertainty. In Japan, downside risks have intensified in the form of a stronger yen, deflationary risks and contracting industrial production, triggering monetary and fiscal stimuli.
2. Among emerging market economies, activity remains varied. GDP growth stabilised in China in Q2, on the back of strong stimulus. Manufacturing activity was weak in July due to adverse weather and subdued export demand, although smaller firms recorded an uptick in new orders. Recessionary conditions are gradually diminishing in Brazil and Russia, but the near-term outlook is still fragile due to policy uncertainties and soft commodity prices.
3. World trade remains sluggish in the first half of 2016. International financial markets did not anticipate the Brexit vote and equities plunged worldwide, currency volatility increased and investors herded into safe havens. Since then, however, equity markets have regained lost ground. Currencies, barring the pound sterling, have stabilised, with the yen appreciating the most on risk-on demand as well as the announcement of fresh stimulus. Yields on government bonds have fallen further and the universe of negative yielding assets is expanding at a fast pace, reflecting high risk aversion and expectations of further monetary accommodation by systemic central banks. Crude prices, which had risen to an intra-year high in May on supply disruptions, remain volatile. Other commodity prices, barring those of precious metals, remain soft due to weak demand.
4. On the domestic front, several factors are helping to support the recovery. After a delayed onset, the south west monsoon picked up vigorously from the third week of June. By early August, the cumulative rainfall was 3 per cent higher than the long period average, with more than 80 per cent of the country receiving normal to excess precipitation.Industrial production picked up in May on the back of manufacturing and mining, following a contraction in the preceding month. The uneven performance of industrial output reflects the lumpy and order-driven contraction of insulated rubber cables, a component of capital goods.
Looking ahead, the momentum of growth is expected to be quickened by the normal monsoon raising agricultural growth and rural demand, as well as by the stimulus to consumption spending that can be expected from the disbursement of pay, pension and arrears following the implementation of the 7th CPC’s award. The passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill augurs well for the growing political consensus for economic reforms. While timely implementation of GST will be challenging, there is no doubt that it should raise returns to investment across much of the economy, even while strengthening government finances over the mediumterm. This should boost business sentiment and eventually investment. The current accommodative stance of monetary policy and comfortable liquidity conditions should also provide a congenial environment for the reinvigoration of aggregate demand conditions.
The fourth bi-monthly monetary policy statement will be announced on October 4, 2016.