Expert Zone

Straight from the Specialists

Why is RBI chief Subbarao so cynical?

Photo

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

In its policy review on May 3, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did bring down the repo rate by 25 basis points but it also presented a gloomy outlook on growth and inflation which left the stock markets cold. The Sensex, which had surged in anticipation, fell 160 points. What makes the RBI so negative when even rating agencies are inclined to accept the emergence of green shoots?

RBI Governor Duvvuri Subbarao has himself spelled out the risks. “Upside risks are still significant in view of sectoral demand supply imbalances, the ongoing correction in administered prices and pressures stemming from increases in minimum support prices,” he said. Is Subbarao’s risk assessment genuine or has it been exaggerated to put the government under pressure?

Sectoral imbalances may take time to fully correct but if as anticipated by the India Meteorological Department the monsoon this year is normal, the supply deficit will be considerably reduced. It is quite likely the correction in administered prices may also be downwards rather than upwards with international commodity prices, including that of crude oil, moving south.

But there is certainly the risk of an increase in minimum support price, which has been the cause of inflation creeping upwards. The increase in food grain support prices each year has become a source of inflation with the potential to spread throughout the economy. First, there is the direct effect. A 5 percent increase in prices can lead to inflation going up by 0.75 percent. Second, there is the derived effect. The increase in support prices is reflected in the cost of living and consequently wages, raising the cost of manufacture to push up inflation by 1.3 percent. The direct and indirect effect of a 5 percent increase in support prices adds 2 percent to inflation. This is a genuine risk but not too significant.

India Market Weekahead: Buy on dips with no roadblocks till budget

Photo

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

There wasn’t much point-to-point movement on the Nifty but it was not a listless week by any standard.

When will the repo rate be reduced?

Photo

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

In his policy review on Oct. 30, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor D. Subbarao stuck to his position that money cannot be made cheap when commodities are becoming expensive.

RBI policy review: Subbarao could have taken a calculated risk

Photo

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The Reserve Bank governor kept interest rates unchanged on Tuesday with a marginal 25 basis points decrease in cash reserve ratio (CRR), disappointing stock markets and  resulting in the Nifty going below 5640.

Will Subbarao oblige Mukherjee?

Photo

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

“The government will be forced to take difficult decisions,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at a FICCI event while expressing hope of a “reversal of the policy rate which should help in improving business sentiments”.

  • Editors & Key Contributors