The central bank’s outlook on inflation and growth is being outpaced by events, including the situation in Ukraine, according to Indian monetary policy makers, indicating that a change of course is probable at its next meeting in April.
The Reserve Bank of India’s February predictions, according to Shashanka Bhide, an external member of the six-member Monetary Policy Committee, will need to be updated due to the war-induced spike in energy and food costs, as well as the threat to world economic development.
In an interview on Friday, Bhide stated, “The conditions we observe now are significantly different from what we saw in the beginning of February.” “The projections will have to take the new scenario into consideration.”
Bhide’s remarks echo those of his MPC colleagues Jayanth Rama Varma, Ashima Goyal, and Michael Patra, who stated last week that the projections will need to be “thoroughly re-assessed” at their meeting early next month.
Inflation was already exceeding the RBI’s 6 percent upper tolerance limit in 2022 before the war, and supply problems that brought oil above $100 a barrel have subsequently established the groundwork for price rise to exceed the full-year target. Given its primary task of maintaining price stability, the current growth-obsessed policy panel led by Governor Shaktikanta Das will find it difficult to ignore that outcome.
Although the developments are unlikely to prompt the MPC to raise interest rates at this time, they may push the panel to clarify its priorities, as fears about the war have surpassed the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It makes no difference whether the central bank takes a cautious approach to policy normalisation or returns to its previous supportive measures, according to Bhide. “What will be necessary is to address the concerns of the time in a steady manner.