RBI keeps interest rates untouched, continues accommodative stance
Dec 08, 2021
MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) maintained a status quo on key rates, keeping the repo rate unchanged, in its bi-monthly policy review announced on Wednesday.
"Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously to keep the policy repo rate at 4 per cent and the stance remains accommodative. Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and bank rate remain unchanged at 4.25 per cent. Reverse repo rate also remains unchanged at 3.35 per cent," Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das informed on Wednesday.
In the last policy review in October, the RBI had kept the key lending rates unchanged for eight consecutive times. The repo rate, at which the RBI lends short-term funds to banks, was kept unchanged at 4 per cent. The reverse repo rate, at which the RBI borrows from banks, was kept unchanged at 3.35 per cent. The Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate was also kept unchanged at 4.25 per cent.
The last time the RBI changed the policy rate was in May 2020. The central bank had slashed the key policy rates in May 2020 to historic lows to support the economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then the RBI has maintained the status quo.
However, during this period the Indian economy has been on a roller coaster. During April-June 2020 quarter, a period when the RBI last changed policy rates, India's GDP slumped by 24.4 per cent. The economy posted a growth of 20.1 per cent during April-June 2021 quarter. The GDP posted a growth of 8.4 per cent in July-September 2021 quarter as against a contraction of 7.4 per cent in the year-ago period.
There has been a wide fluctuation in inflation also. However, the RBI has maintained a 'wait and watch" approach as these fluctuations have been guided by factors largely beyond its control.
COVID-19 new strain Omicron, first identified by South African scientists, is seen as the next big potential source of uncertainties for India's economy. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially named the new Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529. As per the WHO, the first known confirmed case of the new variant was from a sample collected on November 9 this year. Omicron cases have been spreading fast in India. More than 20 cases have been reported in the last one week.