As widely expected, RBI's Monetary Policy Committee, or MPC, maintained a status quo on policy rates and retained a neutral monetary policy stance. Consequently, the reverse repo rate remained unchanged at 5.75 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the bank rate at 6.25 per cent. It may be noted that only Micheal Patra voted from a 25 bps rise in repo rate but all other members - Chetan Ghate, Pami Dua, Ravindra Dholakia, Viral V. Acharya and Urjit Patel voted in favour of the monetary policy decision.
"On balance, we chose to remain watchful about the unfolding of these risks as well as the impact on inflation of the forthcoming revision in MSP, second round impact of house rent allowances by various state governments and fiscal slippages", added Mr Patel. These include global crude oil prices which has been volatile in the recent period. The economy is expected to grow at 7.3-7.4 per cent in the first half and at 7.3-7.6 per cent in the second half with risks evenly balanced. To be precise, the MPC expects the CPI (consumer price index) inflation for 2018-19 to hover around 4.7-5.1 percent in first half of this fiscal year and 4.4 percent in second, adjusting the HRA impact for central government employees.
"While the regulatory responses to these tokens are not uniform internationally, it is universally feared that they can adversely impact market integrity and capital controls".
Though stance on policy rate was as anticipated given the backdrop of government assertion that both fiscal deficit and revenue shortfall in FY18 would be lower than revised budget estimate and that market borrowing would be only Rs 2.88 lakh crore in 1HFY19 as against Rs 3.72 lakh crore in 1HFY18. The RBI has given banks a time-frame of three months to implement the decision and said it was taking the step to ring-fence banks. This made cryptocurrencies exchanges to ask customers to directly deposit money into their bank accounts and post verification the required bitcoins were allowed to be purchased.
The RBI warned, however, that even as global growth and trade have strengthened, rising trade protectionism and market volatility could derail the global recovery.
Besides, it has also lowered the inflation outlook for the last quarter of the previous fiscal ending on March 31, to 4.5% from 5.1%. HDFC Bank in a move last month banned the purchasing of cryptocurrencies through the customers' debit and credit cards.