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RBI will act only if inflation stays put at 4%, says Governor Das

Mumbai, Jun 7, 2024 

Governor Shaktikanta Das on Friday said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may consider "further policy actions" only if it is confident of headline inflation staying put at 4 per cent.

He said it is the central bank's core objective to align the inflation rate with the 4 per cent target, and added that no action on rates will be possible till the RBI is confident of it remaining at or below 4 per cent.

Speaking to reporters at the customary interaction after choosing a status quo in rates for the eighth consecutive time, Das said as per the RBI's projections, consumer price inflation is coming at 3.8 per cent in the December quarter, but rising again later to touch 5 per cent.

"It (inflation) has to align with the target and once it reaches 4 per cent, it has to stay there. When we will get confidence that this will stay at 4 per cent and will not go up, then we will think about further monetary policy actions," Das said.

He was replying a specific question on when to expect a rate cut from the central bank. In a shift within the six-member rate setting panel, two members voted against the decision to hold rate as against only one in earlier instances, which is seen as being indicative of a change in thinking in favour of the growth-propping rate cut.

Das said the growth-inflation journey is progressing as per expectations, but added that it is the last mile of the journey towards 4 per cent, which will be the most difficult or sticky, and reiterated the need for the number to align with the target.

On growth, where the RBI upped its estimate for FY25 real GDP expansion to 7.2 per cent, Deputy Governor Michael Patra said the number is lower because of the high base in FY24, but added that the growth momentum in the economy is very high.

Patra said the risks to growth are primarily from global factors like geopolitical developments, while domestic factors like extreme weather events can also drag it.

Replying to a question if his insistence on the RBI's policy being de-linked from US Fed's moves has a tinge of dovishness and the central bank can move with a rate cut even if the US Fed doesn't cut, Das said the converse is also possible, where RBI may not cut rate even if the US Fed chooses to.

The RBI is capable of handling the additional fund flows that will come in because of the country's inclusion in the J P Morgan bond indices, Das said, adding that it has done so in similar instances in the past as well.

To a poser on the newer additions in the toolkit on forex interventions being mulled as stated in the annual report, Das refrained from expanding further.

Das did not specifically answer questions on the expectations from the new government, its stance on fiscal consolidation given the exigencies of coalition politics, or his reaction to the people's election verdict.

[Press Trust of India]

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