MPC members voted unanimously for 25 bps rate hike

RBI governor Urjit Patel voted for interest rate hike citing inflation risks and related uncertainties whi­le his deputy Viral Acharya felt there was no alternative to it by 25 basis points, as per the minutes of the monetary po­l­icy committee (MPC) meeting released on Wednesday.

After over four years, the Reserve Bank of India raised the short-term le­n­ding rate (repo) to 6.25 per cent on June 6 after MPC headed by Patel unanimously voted for the hike on inflationary concerns.

“Inflation risks have increased since the April policy. I, therefore, vote for an increase in the policy repo rate by 25 basis points. In view of prevailing uncertainties, it is apposite to maintain the ne­utral stance so as to respond to the evolving situation in a flexible manner,” as per the minutes, quoting Patel.

He said the baseline inflation path faces several uncertainties, like oil pric­es, continuing volatility in global financial markets; and impact of the likely revision in the MSP formula.

But a normal monsoon, by keeping food inflation benign, could act as a mitigating factor, Patelsaid. On the positive si­de, food inflation has cont­i­nued to be benign, he said.

Acharya, who had indicated his growing concern around underlying inflati­o­nary pressures in the Ap­ril policy review, said there has been a rise in input costs due to supply shocks such as the sharp oil price su­rge witnessed over the past nine months.

The projection for me­dium-term headline CPI in­f­lation has become fir­m­er on the upside and it has moved closer to 5 per cent and away from 4 per cent (the mandated target of MPC, he said. “There is no alternative to raising the policy rate by 25 bps so as to signal concern about underlying inflation, manage inflation expectations, and guard proactively against a further increase in inflation,” Acharya said.

But considerable un­certainties around oil and food prices as well as the playing out of trade wars and global financial market outcomes led me to keep the stance neutral, he added. As per the minutes, Patel said the recent increase in oil prices, by impacting disposable incomes, may have some adverse impact on private consumption.

Michael D Patra, executive director of RBI, is the third representative of RBI in MPC and favoured 25 bps hike in repo rate. Ravi­n­dra H Dholakia, Pami Dua and Chetan Gh­ate, in­dependent members on MPC, too voted for hike.