India’s Q1 growth may not deter RBI from raising rates: Analysts


Labourers push a handcart in the old quarters of New Delhi on Thursday. Agence France-Presse

India’s lower-than-expected economic growth in April-June is unlikely to alter the course for the Reserve Bank of India that is anchored to taming inflation with more rate hikes, analysts said.

Asia’s third-largest economy grew 13.5% in the April-to-June quarter, its fastest pace in a year, though below the 15.2% forecast by economists in a Reuters poll, data showed on Wednesday.

Growth, however, was well above 4.1% in the previous quarter. For 2022/23, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has projected economic growth at 7.2%.

“(April-June) GDP data release should not be a game-changer for monetary policy,” Nomura analysts Sonal Varma and Aurodeep Nandi said in a note.

The RBI had raised repo rate by 50 basis points in August to 5.40%, taking aggregate hikes to 140 bps in May-August.

The next policy decision is due on Sep. 30, with majority of the participants expecting another hike, though the quantum may come down.

Nomura kept its view of a 35 bps repo rate hike in September and a final 25 bps increase in December, with a 6% repo rate, before global growth concerns and the cumulative hikes potentially lead the monetary policy committee (MPC) to shift into an “extended pause.” India’s retail inflation has stayed stubbornly above 6% for seven straight months, while the RBI’s tolerance band remains 2-6%.

“We expect the RBI to deliver another 50 bps of rate hikes over two meetings in September and December, taking the repo rate to 5.90%, which should also be the time when real rates reach levels desired by the MPC,” said Rahul Bajoria, chief India economist at Barclays.

Meanwhile, some analysts cut India’s 2022/23 economic growth forecast to below RBI’s 7.2% outlook.

“While pent up demand has supported growth over the last few months, weakening exports could become a considerable drag,” Pranjul Bhandari, Chief India Economist at HSBC, said in a note, adding, that she expects GDP growth at 6.8% in 2022/23.

IDFC First Bank has revised growth estimate to 7% from 7.3% previously.

Indian shares fall: Indian shares fell on Thursday, weighed by losses in information technology companies on concerns over growth, while a government move to raise taxes on fuel exports and domestic crude dragged energy stocks.

The NSE Nifty 50 index was down 0.5% at 17,670, as of 0454 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex dropped 0.45% at 59,269.73.

The Nifty IT index dropped 1.5%.

India’s economy grew at its fastest pace of 13.5% year-on-year in April-June, though economists flagged that growth could lose momentum in coming quarters as higher interest rates cool economic activity.

Indian government late Wednesday raised taxes on aviation, diesel fuel exports and domestic crude oil, dragging the energy index down 1%.


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