India’s central bank bears rates at seven-year low

India’s central bank held interest rates at a seven-year low on Wednesday, citing concerns over inflation and rising oil prices as a reason not to make a further cut.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said the benchmark repo rate — the level at which it lends to commercial banks would remain unchanged at 6.0 percent.

The decision was in line with analysts’ expectatio1ns.

The RBI said in a statement the decision was consistent with its objective of keeping inflation at around four percent, noting that consumer price inflation hit a seven-month high recently.

Consumer prices rose to 3.58 percent in October from a year earlier, according to official data.

Predicting that inflation would be in the range of 4.3-4.7 per cent for the third and fourth quarters of this year, the RBI said, “There is a risk that this upward trajectory may continue in the near-term.”

It said food prices had been volatile recently and increases in international crude oil prices were likely to continue in the near future.

Official data last week showed that India’s economy had picked up in the second quarter, rebounding from a slump that had dragged growth to three-year lows.

The figures showed that GDP accelerated to 6.3 percent in the three months to September after five quarters of slowing growth stretching back to early 2016.

The data showed that the economy had emerged from a downturn largely blamed on a shock cash ban that withdrew most of India’s high-value banknotes from circulation, and the launch of a new nationwide goods and services tax.

The RBI in August cut the main interest rate by 25 basis points to 6.0 per cent, the lowest level since September 2010.

Source: AFP

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