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 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%.

Developing Asia To Be Buoyant To The Global Downturn, Says Asian Development Bank.

Developing Economies in the Asian region would be more resilient to the global downturn than was initially thought, the major ADB report says.

A man talks on his cell phone past the electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan, Friday, Aug. 14, 2009. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average rose 80.14 points, or 0.8 percent, at 10,597.33, the highest close since Oct. 3. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)Asian Development Bank on Tuesday has published its report on the Asian Region forecasting the economic growth for year 2009 and 2010 at 3.9% and 6.4% respectively. According to the ADB, despite the worsening economic situation, developing Asia is poised to lead the recovery from the worldwide slowdown. Active response from the government and healthy financial system in the region has fuelled the economic growth and insulated the region from the worst economic crisis to certain extent.

India Economy in particular, ADB has raised the growth forecast from 5 per cent to 6 per cent for the year 2009, and 7 per cent for the year 2010. The key drivers for Indian economy to survive is quicker than expected return on capital, huge capital inflows, increase public spending, Industrial production is improving, however the risk of downside in the economy due to weaker exports, weaker agriculture output expectations has been minimized by the way of announcing stimulus packages and monetary policies which has maintained the financial system in working condition, although the agriculture output is expected to revive by the last quarter. According to the ADB, 2010 would be better for the economy as the industrial economies is supposed to be out of recession, thus the exports will likely to turnaround and it will cut the overall trade deficit.

On the inflation side, as the food prices are soaring due to poor output of crops this year, the report suggest that the government will be able to contain the inflation by importing the appropriate amount of foodgrain, however it would create the chaotic situation for the central bank while coming on to the monetary policy review. Higher CPI would influence the RBI’s monetary decision and hence, the revision in interest rates is expected as the VMW had research earlier. Key valid points which has been outlined by the ADB to broader openness for the economic resilience:

  1. Reinforce Intra-Regional Trade.
  2. Effectively manage financial globalization.
  3. Maximizing the benefits from labor mobilization.

 

 

This report is officially published by the ADB and the content used in this post has been taken from the report of Asian Development Bank. VMW is not intended to disseminate this report and has been published on VMW Blog for the information purpose only for the visitors.