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RBI Policy: MPC keeps repo rate unchanged at 4%

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The RBI MPC said it will continue with the accommodative stance as long as necessary to support a struggling economy hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Federal Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), on Transfiguration, kept the repo rate -- the key lending rate at which banks lend short-term rates to banks -- unchanged at 4 percent. The monetary policy stance has been retained at 'accommodative'. An accommodative stance means a rate hike is unlikely.

The MPC said it'll continue with the accommodative stance as long as necessary to support a struggling economy hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement came in line with what most economists predicted within the backdrop of a persistently high retail inflation and uncertainty surrounding the expansion.

Governor Shaktikanta Das cautioned against the threat of a possible third wave of the pandemic and guaranteed that the financial institution will remain vigilant. “The need of the hour isn't to drop out the guard and remain vigilant against any possibility of third-wave especially within the backdrop of rising infections in certain parts of the country,” RB Governor Shaktikanta Das said announcing the monetary policy.

The MPC has cut key lending rates by 250 basis points since February 2019 to support growth. The rate-setting panel said it'll closely watch the inflation-growth scenario going ahead while deciding the course of policy actions.

The RBI has increased the retail inflation estimate for the fiscal year 2021-22 to 5.7 percent from 5.1 percent projected earlier while retained the GDP growth target for the fiscal year at 9.5 percent.

Price pressures have stayed high within the recent months. The closely tracked Consumer Price Index-based inflation (CPI) for the month of June rose 6.26 percent, as food prices hardened further, and transportation costs rose thanks to higher petrol and diesel prices. The June print came slightly less than 6.30 percent for May, which was the very best in six months but continues to be above the MPC’s temperature of 2-6 percent.

Das said while the recent inflationary trend has evoked concerns, this is often more transitory in nature. Das emphasized that the conduct of MPC has been geared to rejuvenate growth. "Continued policy support is required to nurture a nascent economic recovery," Das said.