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%.

RBI Cuts Policy Rates And CRR To Enable Banks To Provide Credit At Cheaper Rates Meanwhile, Govt Announced The 2nd Stimulus Package.

RBI cut Repo rate, Reverse Repo by 100 bps to 5.5% and 4% respectively on the other side, there is reduction of 50 bps on CRR to 5%. CRR cut to release Rs. 20,000.00 Crores ($4.08 billion) on the other side, Govt has announced the second stimulus package to defend the economy from the global downturn. Click here to read the latest RBI Action on Policy Rates.

Reserve Bank of IndiaAs the global financial situation is continue to exacerbate and the official announcement of Recession by the advanced economies like the United States, Japan and the Euro Zone; the Reserve Bank of India (India’s Central Bank) is aggressively responding to the crisis to maintain the sound banking system via adequate amount of liquidity and sustainable economic growth to achieve targets. on 2nd Jan 2009, RBI has cut Repo rate and Reverse Repo rate by 1 percentage point to 5.5% and 4% respectively and Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) by 50 bps to 5%. Now, its assume that the reduction in policy rates and CRR of central bank would make possible for the banks to cut their lending rates in order to provide cheaper credit.  On the same day, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia has also announced the second stimulus package to the Indian Economy to weather the global financial crises with success. The second stimulus package would allow the companies to borrow more from abroad through ECB and FIIs to invest more in the country. This package also gave attention to the Housing sector and Infrastructure sector by providing liquidity of Rs. 25,000.00 Crores ($5.21 billion) through investment grade papers. In order to encourage infrastructure projects in the country, Govt has allowed the India Infrastructure Finance Company (IIFC) to raise upto Rs. 10,000.00 Crores ($2.08 billion) through tax free bonds for refinancing the bank lending of longer maturity to eligible infrastructure bid based Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects. This will mainly enables to fund the projects like Highway and Port projects.

Apart from that, to protect the Micro, Small and Medium Entreprises (MSME) from the economic downturn, guarantee cover under Credit Guarantee Scheme have been extended from Rs. 50 Lakhs to Rs. 1 Crores with a guarantee cover of 50%.

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 define 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 clarifications on these Finance terms, send an email at contact@vishalmishra.com

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Banks Cutting Interest Rates in order to make Cheaper Home Loans.

However, banks are only announcing the rate cut on loan upto Rs. 2.0 million. ($42,000). No relief for the existing borrowers.  
A Construction site in New Delhi.

A Construction site in New Delhi.

Subsequent to the recent RBI’s rate cut announcement, the banks are responding and cutting down the interest rates on home loans by 50 bps to 100 bps.The interest rates are vary from bank to bank. If the borrower seeking for the home loan of Rs 2,000,000.00 (Rs. 2 million) or below, then the banks are offering loan at the rate between 9.5% and 13% on floating rate and fixed rate respectively. However, the above rates are only applicable on new home loan application for the loan of upto Rs. 2 million. (Rs. 20 lacs).

Since the property prices in Tier 1 cities are not available in the range of Rs. 2 million or so, the rate cut announcement by the banks are inappropriate and specially for the existing borrowers. Banks are only giving lower interest rates on cheap home loan and only to the new customers. The existing customers are still unhappy and didn’t get any benefit from the RBI’s Repo rate cut and Reverse repo cut. That’s why, the developers are morose too with the Indian banking Association’s (IBA) move. Many developers are against with the banks’ decision to not allowing the cheaper loan on more than Rs. 2 million.

The big question arises that, Why banks are averse to offer cheaper home loan across the board? When the interest rates went up in the last few months, then banks have raised the rates on all type of loans, whatever the loan size, it doesn’t matter. Now the RBI is cutting its benchmark interest rates, banks are not doing so. Why?

Many Banks have argued that the deposit rates are above the RBI’s benchmark interest rates and they cannot cut the borrowing cost unless the deposit rate soften. That is the reason the banks aren’t cutting down the interest rates. According to the PSU banks’ balance sheet, over 80% of home loan assets comprise the loan portfolio of Rs. 2,000,000.00. In order to cut Prime Lending Rate (PLR, the rate at which banks lend to their best customer), the banks need to cut down their deposit rates, so that the lower cost of credit will available to everyone. RBI had cut the Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) by 350 bps in the last 3 months to improve the liquidity in the system however, the banks’ main source of liquidity is from the deposit from the customers and they cannot cut deposit rate as they don’t have enough liquidity. Main sectors are also suffering from the higher interest rates. In addition to the real estate sector, SMEs are also facing the burden of higher interest rates. Recently the World Bank have agreed to lend upto $14 billion (Rs. 67,000 Crores) in the next three years, which would help to recapitalize the state run banks. As the liquidity dried up, the banks are unable to access long term financing in order to focus on Real Estate, Small and Medium Scale Entreprises (SMEs) and infrastructure.