India’s Annual Monetary Policy 2011 – Inflation Is Expected To Remain High Amid Robust Economic Growth.

The thirst of robust economic expansion and higher commodity prices will technically push inflation on the upside and interest rate in India is expected to remain high for the next couple of fiscal years as the RBI seeming to keep interest rates on the higher side to maintain the cost of credit exorbitant to lessen the demand.

 

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It was the confrontational step of the Reserve Bank of India by revising another 50 bps in its policy rates to address the wild price rise situation in order to eliminate the risk of higher inflation and to persuade the Indian economy to grow fast but sustainably. VMW has analyzed the inflation problem from the household’s kitchen to the corporate decision maker and found that the food prices are not rising as fast as the non-food articles do, due to increase in international commodity prices. Food prices in March rose by 9.47 per cent while the prices of non-food articles rose by 25.88 per cent largely inflated by expensive crude oil and other important imported commodity products. So far, the effect of RBI’s rate tightening and expensive commodity prices – rallied on the economic euphoria – can be seen on the Capital Goods sector of India. India’s IIP index has been fluctuating, and the capital goods, index in particular, has performed deplorably (see figure below) due to higher cost of credit, tolling in the company’s income statement in terms of higher interest payments. Construction, Energy, Real Estate, Diversified and Infrastructure companies have piled up billions of dollars in terms of debt to function their operations and to execute their awarded projects.

 

The important wings of the Indian government and the Reserve Bank of India are expecting the inflation around 6 per cent by the end of the fiscal year 2012. However, the VMW’s estimates are bucking the government and RBI’s estimates – expecting the inflation to remain above 6 percent and even in a double digit by the end of this year (up to 11 percent). The only fundamental cause is the India’s hunger of economic expansion at a faster pace, and the same would not pull down the inflation to lower levels, since it will dramatically push the demand in the economy for pricey imported commodity. Moreover, the US Federal Reserves’ monetary expansion program, known by Quantitative Easing or QE2 is scheduled to end by Jun, 2011 and, perhaps, it will not reduce the impact of higher inflation in the economy right away and high supply of a dollar could depreciate it against the other major currencies, which will push the international commodity prices. The expensive imports will prevail upon the higher current account deficit until the export figures too remain blunt. Henceforth, the Current Account Deficit remains a prime concern for the economy. Although, RBI is not considering it as a major threat but the VMW is deliberating the same, and the prime predicament could be the lower portfolio investments since Foreign Institutional Investors’ flows (FII) are the immediate source of financing the Current Account Deficit and Foreign Direct Investments are not as easy as the FII flows are due to scores of roadblocks to the investments and instability in national politics and India’s foreign policy.

 

Inflation always Remained High in India and Now Needs Government Intervention Plus Tighter Monetary Policy from RBI’s Side. 

Now, in our research lab, we have analyzed the inflation problem. Look at the GDP Deflator and the WPI Inflation rate – how these trend lines have emerged over the past six fiscal years. GDP deflator is one of the other important tools to measure inflation, and it show, the inflation problem was relentlessly haunting the Indian economy. The most significant discovery is, the RBI loosened the policy rates during FY08, when India faced the condition of deflation due to change in the base year and was not reflecting the correct picture. However, GDP deflator remained at the alarming levels. At the same time, in FY09, RBI has raised the interest rates to prevent India to be a victim of the global financial crisis.

 

Here, we are not suggesting the RBI to track the GDP deflator, but to align its monetary policy to fix the “structured inflation problem”, caused by huge government borrowings, and at the same time, to make the economic growth sustainable and to refrain from the economic overheating. Plus to this, there is an urgent need of government intervention in terms of policies to overhaul the distribution of agricultural produce, to check the government borrowings and bringing down the fiscal deficit, which is now estimated at 5.6 percent until Feb, 2011 and 5.8 percent for FY2011. This will also subdue the prices.

 

 

Future of the Interest Rates in India

Rise in crude oil prices and other imported commodity price holes the Indian Economy up. It is one of the biggest risks to India since the country is not completely reliant on its own energy output and imports more than 70 percent of crude oil from GCC countries and other OPEC members. It’s expected that the global economic recovery would not stall but the pace will come down most importantly when the United States has stepped up its efforts to bring down the fiscal deficit to 4.1 percent by 2014. Nevertheless, the real economic output could remain under pressure due to the effect of increasing government debt. Since, we have focused on the final output (GDP) and it shows the prices of final produce in a particular financial year are increasing by more than 7.0 percent, whereas the WPI inflation is fluctuating throughout the discussed fiscal years. Provided herein is India’s stock of money or M3 for the last three fiscal years, which reverberates above 20 per cent. However, it is now falling significantly back to 15 per cent, and it shows the RBI’s action in policy rate is working, which means the monetary policy has a certain effect on the core inflation problem and would make an impact on the demand side but it is not sustainable as the government’s borrowing plans are on track.

 

 

 

 

Lower money supply has side effects too as it will increase the cost of credit further, and it will reduce the access to credit. Moreover, the stock markets could not function properly in this environment since the economic activity declines, which will eventually reduce the value of people’s retirement savings. However, the RBI has only one choice – tight monetary policy to tame inflation by giving up the India’s ambitions of double digit economic growth.

 

This VMW Research is originally published at UNIDOW.com

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RBI’s Annual Monetary Policy: RBI Revised Repo Rate And CRR. Policy Expected To Be Aggresive Amid High Inflation.

Grim economic outlook along with poor monsoon was the biggest concern last year, but for this year, inflation is the biggest challenge for the Reserve Bank of India.

  

Click here for the latest VMW Research on India’s Annual Monetary Policy

 

Reserve Bank of India on Apr 20, 2010 has revised its policy rates and CRR by 25 bps. In response to the intimidating supply side factors, India’s inflation dynamic economic growth – as the domestic balance of risk shifts from economic slowdown to inflation, RBI decided to absorb liquidity from the market to control prices. The recovery process in the global economy persists amidst the policy support around the world. In India, RBI has forecasted the GDP growth for 2009-10 at 7.5 per cent while the CSO has forecasted the GDP growth at 7.2 per cent and may settle down in between 7.2 and 7.5 per cent.

Challenges remain in the economy, just perturbing factor has shifted from the economic slowdown to the inflation. Today, inflation is the biggest challenge for the RBI. The headline inflation – measured on WPI on year over year basis, expedited from 0.5 per cent in Sep 2009 to 9.9 per cent in Mar 2010, exceeded the RBI’s baseline projection of 8.5 per cent. Since the economic environment evolving very rapidly, the demand for non-food items also hasten which is propping-up the inflation, thus it is clear WPI is no longer driven by the supply side factors alone.

Raising substantial amount of money for the central government and at the same time, curbing additional liquidity to control prices will be a biggest challenge for the Reserve Bank of India to manage borrowings of the government during 2010-11.

 

 

During 2009-10, the Central government borrowed Rs398,411 Crores ($87.3 Billion approx.) through the market borrowing programme such as Market Stabilization Scheme (MSS) and open Market operations (OMO). This large market borrowing by the government pushing up the yields on government securities during the last financial year, however the lower demand for the credit by the private sectors and better liquidity management by the central bank has cushioned the yields. Moreover, the Union Budget for 2010-11 has begun the process of fiscal consolidation. Government budgeting to pull down the fiscal deficit to 5.5 per cent of the total GDP as compare to 6.7 per cent in 2009-10.

What would be the Possible Causes for Further Elevation in headline Inflation?

  • Rise in Food as well as non-food articles as the prospect of monsoon is not yet clear.
  • Rise in commodity prices poses greater risk to the inflation such as wild volatility in crude oil prices.
  • Strong industrial output according to the IIP data shows the revived confidence in corporates and regaining their pricing power and building up of demand side pressure.

 

Initiating the fiscal consolidation process is a major positive development to enhance the monetary situation in the country as it aimed at reducing the government deficits. This will help avoid the unforeseen demand for private sector credit and would facilitate better monetary management. Nevertheless, the overall size of the government borrowing would exert pressure on the interest rates going forward.

After a series of monetary expansion during the financial crisis, Reserve Bank of India decided to curb liquidity by way of revising policy rates and CRR. In order to achieve the consolidating economic growth, RBI’s policy stance would be a meaningful step towards the resilient economic growth of the country despite the dubiety of rainfall, inflation is now become more generalized and no longer driven by supply side pressure and better liquidity management to make sure that government borrowing programme would not get hampered. In its latest monetary measures, RBI had the following  plan of action for managing liquidity:

Policy Rates as of Jun 2010
       
Repo Rate 5.25% 0.25
Reverse Repo Rate 3.75% 0.25
Bank Rate 6%   0
       
Reserve Ratios      
       
Cash Reserve Ratio 6% 0.25
Statutory Liquidity Ratio 25%   0

 

Please read the latest VMW Research on the RBI’s Monetary Policy at VMW Blog!

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RBI’s Third Quarter Monetary Policy. CRR Raised By 75 Bps.

India’s Central Bank, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced its Monetary Policy on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 and decided to raise CRR by 75 bps to 5.75%.

As expected, Central bank, Reserve Bank of India has raised Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) by 75 bps to 5.75% and keeps its policy rates unchanged as per the expectations of VMW, however the hike in CRR is well above, what we had anticipated. While the global economy is stabilizing, the growth outlook has been revised. Economies have rebounded steadly after the significant government intervention. Over the past two years, RBI has reduced the policy rates and CRR in response to the economic crisis to infuse the sufficient amount of liquidity into the market to emerge from the dried liquidity situation and to provide the ample credit facility to the economy to impede the greater risk of economic trouble for the second fastest growing economy in the world. The general trend of CRR (shown below), shows, how the central bank has responded to the economic trouble. During the reign of YV Reddy, CRR jumped to 9 per cent in Aug 2008 just before the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers to absorb the additional liquidity in order to prevent the Indian companies (banks & companies) to invest outside into the risky assets.

 

After few days, Duvvuri Subbarao has taken over the charge of RBI and he decided to reduce interest rates by more than 400 bps, when the financial crisis was at peak. Overall, the RBI has predominantly managed the situation mightily and helped the Indian companies to grow even in a gloomy economic period to a certain extent. Now this time, RBI raised the CRR as the Inflation rate is again at the alarming levels. India’s spiralling money supply over the past few months has grew by more than 22 per cent which is again the another matter of concern, which the RBI is taking it seriously to contain the the rise in prices. Rise in CRR would not likely affect the cost of borrowing as the banks are sitting on ample liquidity and shifting to the demand deposits to reduce their cost. Bank’s CASA , Time Deposit ratio has been shifted very aggresively post economic recession to reduce their cost. However, over the next few quarters, RBI may hike the Repo rate and Reverse Repo rate if the inflationary pressure continues.

RBI Monetary Policy Review: Policy Rates Unchanged, SLR Revised By 1%.

Reserve Bank of India’s latest monetary policy review has left the policy rates unchanged and the Statutory Liquidity Ratio has been revised by 1% to 25%.

Monetary Policy Action For A Sustainable Fragile Recovery

Reserve Bank India Headquarters in Mumbai.Over the past few months, the health of the global economies have been improved significantly however, the recent RBI’s monetary policy shows that the central bank is taking no chance for the sake of the economic growth as the RBI understands that the current economic recovery is fragile. Perhaps, the companies around the world are announcing better than expected quarterly results, but its not showing the real growth in revenue or on the bottom-line side, but actually it shows the positive response of cost cutting measures, which had been taken when the recession was at peak in Sep, 2008. Moreover, since the Indian economy decelerated in the last few quarters, Reserve Bank is taking permissive measures regardless the inflation problem which is persisting and would force the RBI in near future to take hawkish policy actions for a sustainable growth and to prevent the possible asset bubble, the same which was done by the former RBI Governor – Yaga Venugopal Reddy, who raised the interest rates even in difficult times to avert the Indian Banks from huge losses. To safeguard the economy from the rising public debt, the fiscal stimulus needs to be sustained until the recovery is on. Whether the economy is collapsing or recovering from the gorge, it is the crucial economic cycle and the sustainable recovery would be taken care of by way of stimulating the demand in a bleak times. In the recent economic research done by the VMW on the Indian Economy, in which we have mentioned about the disparity between the WPI and CPI inflation. The same is now concerning the central bank to decide over the interest rates which has been mentioned in the Minutes of Meeting (MoM) of the Board of Governors of RBI.

On Tue, 27th Oct 2009, RBI has left its key policy rates (Repo and Reverse Repo) unchanged for a while and hinted upon a high degree of probability of higher inflation in the near future which would be a turnaround for the interest rates. Moreover, the central bank emphasis on credit flows to the Agriculture and SME sector for a growth revival has disappointed the Real Estate industry. RBI has not even touched the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) as the liquidity in the market is still at a comfortable level. Upto first week of Oct 2009, M3 Money Supply was at 18.9 per cent above the RBI estimate as the large Government Borrowings reflecting the expansion of M3 Stock of Money.

Over the past few years, RBI’s monetary actions are always growth specific. India is a supply constrained economy as compare to developed economies which are lagging by lament demand. To supply the ample social infrastructure, RBI is now focussing on the Real Estate and Infrastructure sector. The stance of the Monetary Policy for the rest of the year 2009  under different monetary measures in which the Repo Rate and Reverse Repo rate has been leave unchange at 4.75%, and 3.25% respectively. CRR has also been retained unchanged at 5% while the SLR has been revised by 1 percentage point to 25%.

(SA) RBI Revised Its Monetary Policy; Reduces Repo Rate & Reverse Repo Rate.

Reserve Bank of India modifies its monetary policy. RBI Governor Duvvuri Subbarao has slashed CRR and policy rates several time since he took the charge.
 
Banks are under significant liquidity pressure and it is evident that the banks are now withdrawing money under the central bank’s Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF) or Repurchase Agreement (Repo). Is the RBI cogitating the another rate hike to contain inflation under the compressed liquidity situation? Find out more.
The Reserve Bank of India.

The Reserve Bank of India Headquarters in Mumbai.

On Tuesday Apr 21, 2009, India’s Central bank – Reserve Bank of India has announced its Annual Policy on Macroeconomic and Monetary Developments. RBI has slashed its policy rates by 25 bps. BPS is Basis Points which should be defined by One Hundredth of a one percentage point 1/100th of 1%.

After the reduction in policy rates, RBI’s Repo rate stands at 4.75% and Reverse Repo rate stands at 3.25%. Repo means repurchase agreement in which banks sell government securities to the RBI in exchange for cash and agrees to repurchase those securities from the RBI at a later date which is the Reverse Repo Rate. While addressing to media, RBI Governor stresses that the bank should pass-on the reduction benefits to the consumers. India has witnessed the steep fall in demand for a credit.

RBI Reference Rate As on Apr 2009

Bank Rate 6%
Repo Rate 4.75%
Reverse Repo Rate 3.25%
Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) 5%
Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) 24%
Prime Lending Rate (PLR) 13%

 

The Indian Economy has also got affected by the economic crisis in developed countries. Since mid of Sep 2008, when the major financial institutions were collapsed, the India’s central bank has reduced its policy rates and CRR by number of times and SLR by 100 bps since than to prop the Indian economy up. India’s money supply dropped to 18.4% in compare to 21.7% last year which signifies the deceleration in credit market and the capital inflows. In the last few months, Indian Rupee has depreciated by more than 18%  and likely to depreciate further due to higher risk aversion in Rupee denominated assets, acute deleveraging due to falling exports which resulted fall in corporate earnings and strong demand for US Dollar due to huge amount of selling in equity markets. However, since Mar 09, financial markets have performed better in compare to its peers and other developed markets due to attracting and cheap valuation of the India Incorporated. By taking these factors in mind, RBI is taking precise decision on a periodic basis to respond to the global financial crisis and to make a favorable economic environment. India’s external debt and national debt has reached the level of 49% to the annual gross domestic product, however the strong foreign reserves would ensure the external stability. 

This research has been Superannuated by the VMW Research Team. This research might not be applicable in today’s economic context.

RBI Responding To The Economic Downturn, Cut Repo Rate And Reverse Repo Rate.

Day after day, we are witnessing the bad news coming from across the world. In the Year 2009, day by day, the condition of the global economy is deteriorating as the financial crisis has spilled over from a single continent to the across the globe. The effect of the global downturn can be felt in India too to a certain extent, perhaps the Indian authorities are responding on a timely basis to weather this horrific economic catastrophe. In response to that, India’s central bank – Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has further eases the monetary policy on Wed, Mar 4, 2009 by slashing policy rates by 50 bps with immediate effect.

RBI has reduced the Repo rate by 50 bps to 5.0% from 5.5% while there is also a reduction of 50 bps on reverse repo front by 50 bps to 3.5% from 4.0%. However the CRR remained untouched. According to the RBI, there is no need to reduce the Cash Reserve ratio as of now, but will be considered if needed. Since the Oct, 2008 RBI has reduced the policy rates, CRR and SLR by number of times in order to maintain the flexibility in the banking system and the functioning of the Financial Markets in an orderly manner.

VMW Definitions:

  • Repo Rate: is a rate at which, RBI repurchases Govt Securities from the commercial banks to expand the money supply in exchange of cash.
  • Reverse Repo Rate: Vice versa of Repo rate means to sell Gov’t bonds in exchange of cash.
  • CRR: is a Cash Reserve Ratio. Banks kept some portion of their deposits with the RBI at a prescribed reserve rate.
  • SLR: is the Statutory Liquidity Ratio at which banks need to kept short term securities such as Cash, Gov’t Securities, Precious Metals like Gold and Silver and other short term securities.
  • BPS: is Basis Points which should be defined by One Hundredth of a one percentage point (1/100th of 1%). It is commonly used in expressing differences of interest rates.

If you need further clarification on these Finance terms, send an email at contact@vishalmishra.com

(SA) Interim Budget 2009 Review: Fiscal Deficit Swells to 8% to the GDP.

Please Read the latest report on India Budget 2009.
India’s Fiscal Deficit swells to 8 per cent of the annual gross domestic product, govt spending likely to rise and tax rate cut are less likely. However, Govt has reduced Excise Duty and Service Tax to shore-up the economy.
 
 
Pranab Mukherjee

India's External Affairs Minister (Foreign Minister)

 

Then Minister of External Affairs – Mr Pranab Mukherjee, who was in charge for Finance Ministry also for a while, has announced the Pre-Election Interim Budget 2009 for the Fiscal 2009-10. Markets and the corporate world has anticipated lot of changes and reframing of policies to weather the current global economic downturn however, the Interim Budget has banished all the factors to support the Indian economy. Interestingly, he has pointed out that the major policy announcement would take place post election in the Regular announcement of the General Budget which was held in May, 2009. 

In his budget speech, he merely stressed upon the Rural Development by expanding the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) from Rs. 5,500 Crores ($1.13 Billion) for the year 2003-04 to Rs. 14,000 Crores ($2.87 Billion) for the year 2008-09. Apart from that, he has discussed, exactly what the UPA Govt have did in the last 5 years of their tenure. On the most important Financial and Tax reforms front, he has left this portion for the Regular Budget announcement. He said the, tax rates must fall in these stressful economic times, while the majority of industry has expected positive changes on the tax front and the ailing Real Estate and Infrastructure sectors had anticipated for support from the Government. Now, the RBI is the final ray of hope until the General Elections in a way of reduction in policy rates by at least 100 bps. 

India’s Finances 

Since the last Year’s Budget announcement, the Indian Govt’s finances have totally shaken up. Three major developments like provision for pay revision (Sixth Pay Commission), loan waiver and finally National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and various other subsidies has led to significant intensification of the India’s Fiscal Deficit. Initially, Govt had pegged it at 2.1% of the India’s GDP. This Fiscal Deficit has to be rise for sure as the Govt has announced two different Stimulus Packages in the last couple of months to stimulate the economy and the domestic demand, extra spending under NREGA, Subsidy on Oil and Fertilisers and most importantly the lower revenue/receipt from Taxes. Government is also expecting lower tax revenue in this fiscal year due to global economic downturn. The abstract of “Demand for Grant” is given below:  

  • Pay & Pension Revision: Rs. 28,505 Crores ($5.85 Billion)
  • Oil Subsidy (Oil Bonds): Rs. 65,942 Crores ($13.54 Billion)
  • Fertilizer Subsidy (incl Bonds): Rs. 64,866 Crores ($13.32 Billion)
  • Food Subsidy: Rs. 11471 Crores ($2.36 Billion)
  • NREGA: Rs. 25,000 Crores ($5.13 Billion)
  • Farmer’s Debt Relief: Rs. 15,000 Crores($3.08 Billion)
  • Transfer to States: Rs. 12,741 Crores ($2.61 Billion)

The total cost of those subsidies (including bonds) and other packages is Rs. 223,525 Crores ($45.9 Billion) which means, the it works out to 4.4% of the India’s GDP. If the Govt adds the reduction in tax collections, it could cost 1 per cent of GDP. According to the Economic Advisory Council (EAC), the Fiscal Deficit in the Union Budget had been placed at 2.5% to which, the addition of 4.4% and 1% to this number would definitely raise the total to nearly 8% of the GDP. Credit Rating agencies like Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s and Fitch are closely watching the India’s fiscal shortfall and this would definitely force them to downgrade the India’s Sovereign Debt rating. On Tue, Feb 24, 2009 S&P has reaffirmed the India’s rating to BBB-, means downgrading India from “Stable” to “Negative” outlook. 

What would happen, if the Fiscal Deficit rises? It means, that the Government will borrow extra to finance their expenditures (planned or non-planned). We won’t evade the higher monetary inflation. If the Government borrows extra for its spending, then the level of money supply will rise because it will force the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to print more money – which would lead to the higher inflation at least in the medium term. Currently, the India’s national debt is 59% of the annual gross domestic product (Central and State Government combined). At VMW, we have earlier discussed about the deflation in the Developed Economy, however we’ve ruled out the Headline Deflation in India. Maybe the short term, Government borrowing will prevent the further fall in inflation. There is also a possibility of higher interest rates in the long run. 

As a result, there is a limited room for the Government to ramp up the spending without causing the structural harm to the economy. That’s why the Government is reluctant to cut tax rates and in the near future, Government may also consider reducing subsidy burden on Oil and Fertiliser by 1.6% of the GDP and this Interim Budget proves merely a performance review of the Government. 

Please Note: All figures in US Dollar (USD) terms are converted at Indian Rupee (INR) 48.70 aganist the USD. 

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