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Inflation To Ease To 4.5-4.75% By March, 25-50 Basis Point Rate Cut Likely: Morgan Stanley

Inflation To Ease To 4.5-4.75% By March, 25-50 Basis Point Rate Cut Likely: Morgan Stanley

New Delhi: Inflation is expected to moderate to 4.5 per cent to 4.75 per cent by March 2017 and the Reserve Bank of India is likely to go for a 0.50 percentage point cut in this fiscal year, says a Morgan Stanley report.

According to the global financial services major, inflation will remain on a moderating path, with near-term readings likely undershooting the RBI’s trajectory.

“With our forecast of CPI (Consumer Price Index) inflation at 4.5-4.75 per cent for quarter ended March 2017 (lower than RBI’s expectation of 5 per cent) and RBI’s lower real rate target of 1.25 per cent, we expect a further 25-50 bps of rate cuts by March 2017,” Morgan Stanley said in a research note.

Easing food prices is the key factor driving the moderation in inflation. Other drivers of inflation include rural/urban wages, global commodity prices, disinflation from excess capacity, and fiscal consolidation.

“As we expect the incoming inflation readings before the next policy meeting to show further moderation and potentially be better than RBI’s expectations, we see a higher probability (60 per cent) that the central bank will move again to cut rates at the December 7 meeting,” the report said.

The Monetary Policy Committee, which has three members nominated by the government and the rest from the RBI, lowered the repo rate to 6.25 per cent from 6.50 per cent at the end of two-day deliberations on October 4.

The next meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is scheduled on December 6 and 7.

On growth, the report said the macro environment has seen steady improvement in the past two years; however, the pace of growth recovery had been “slower than anticipated”.

“In the last six months, we have seen a broadening of the recovery with a pickup in discretionary consumption. We believe the recovery in this cycle will be led by domestic demand – consumption, public capex and foreign investment,” the report said.

According to Morgan Stanley, the drag from external demand is gradually declining, going forward external demand to stabilise.