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This article is more than 1 year old.

Next rate cut in October? BofaML says it's possible if RBI waits for below 4% inflation

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BofAML continues to expect that the RBI MPC to cut rates by 25 bps on February 6 to support recovery if inflation peaks off in December-January. However, it added that if the RBI MPC wants to wait till CPI inflation falls below 4 percent again, the next RBI rate cut may get postponed to October, assuming normal monsoon.

Next rate cut in October? BofaML says it's possible if RBI waits for below 4% inflation
Rising food prices pushed the retail inflation in November to a 40-month high of 5.54 percent, while the industrial sector output shrank for the third month in a row by 3.8 percent in October, indicating deepening slowdown in the economy. Retail price-based consumer inflation was 4.62 percent in October.
During the month, the prices of vegetables spiked 36 percent from 5.40 percent in September, while for fruits it jumped to 4.08 percent from 0.83 percent.
Most brokerages expect inflation to further increase. BofAML expects inflation to peak off at about 6-6.5 percent in December-January.
"Our base case sees December, at 5.9 percent with onion prices retreating to Rs 60 per kg, in line with falling wholesale prices. If retail onion prices persist at the current Rs 90 per kg, December inflation will print 6.5 percent," the report noted.
Despite this, BofAML expects that the RBI MPC will cut rates by 25 bps on February 6 to support recovery if inflation peaks off in December-January. However, it added that if the MPC wants to wait till CPI inflation falls below 4 percent again, the next RBI rate cut may get postponed to October, assuming normal monsoon.
"As growth will rebound in 1HFY21 on base effects, the RBI MPC will likely hold out. If slowing global growth drags down inflation, it will cut the repo rate to 4.4 percent by October," the report stated.
It further said that, as RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, in the recent meet, emphasised that 'the MPC has committed to an accommodative stance as long as it is necessary to revive growth while ensuring that inflation remains within the target. This forward guidance indicates that there is space available for further monetary policy action,' February rate cut may be on the cards.
Other brokerages also expect inflation to increase. Onions could take headline CPI inflation to 6.8 percent in December, Credit Suisse said, adding that inflation appears to be all about onions, garlic, and pulses. It further noted that this delayed fall in interest rates means weaker growth for a longer period.
Morgan Stanley also expects a further increase in inflation to 6 percent YoY in December and sees a lower probability of a rate cut in the next MPC meeting in February.
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