On the face of it, the six-member monetary policy committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did what most observers expected it to do — defer a policy rate increase. The markets responded accordingly, barely moving after the policy was announced. A few banking stocks were affected, possibly because the RBI also announced its decision to “harmonise” the methodology for determining benchmark rates by linking the base rate to the marginal cost of funds-based lending rate (MCLR). While the move is aimed at improving monetary policy transmission, it might affect bank margins at a time when base rates are facing some upward pressure. There was also some relief provided to medium, small and micro enterprises, which are struggling to pay their dues to banks in the wake of the disruption brought on by the goods and services tax. However, beyond these announcements, there was a lot of meaning in the fine print of what the RBI stated in the policy document and later at the post-policy press conference.
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First Published: Thu, February 08 2018. 06:00 IST