RBI not likely to go for surprise rate hike: Bankers

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Reserve Bank of India
Mumbai, Apr 6: On the backdrop of soaring inflation, bankers are of the view that the Reserve Bank is not expected to go for a surpise rate hike before the scheduled annual policy review on April 29, as the system has had adequate liquidity.

''The liquidity in the system as well as credit growth was by and large comfortable thus we do not see any major issue that RBI may intervene with surpirse hike to rein Inflation,'' Indian Banks' Association Chief Executive H N Sinor told the sources. The present high inflation was not only due to domestic factors, a major contribution was from the global crisis as well, Mr Sinor said adding, ''If you see the last three quarter policy review, the high inflation was inbuilt.'' Nevertheless, the government had taken numbers of measures to cushion the inflation and there is possiblity that on monetary side, ''The Central Bank may hike the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) or repo rate or both by 25 to 50 basis points,'' Mr Sinor opined.

As far as credit growth was concerned, Reserve Bank was not supposed comfortable with the credit growth rate of 28-30 per cent. Now, it has been moderated at 20-22 per cent substantially, which should be considered to be in a comfortable zone rather than calling it credit slowdown, Mr Sinor asserted.

However, he admited that on risk management side, banks have taken precautions.

Supporting the similar view, Bank of Maharashtra Chairman and Managing Director M D Mallya said, ''RBI is not likely to come up with a surpirse hike as liquidity is comfortable, but high inflation gives an indication that RBI may hike the CRR and repo rate by 50 basis points.'' Earlier, ICICI Bank Chairman K V Kamath said that liqudity in the system was very comfortable, but inflation was a challenge.

However, he declined to comment on RBI policy stance and said, ''We will see economic growth happening, though it may slow down from about 10 per cent to eight per cent.'' There are global circumstances that have led to inflation, Mr Kamath said adding, ''At this point of time, it's purely a supply-side phenomenon, more than because of what we would term as overheating.'' Union Bank of India Executive Director R S Reddy opined that the cause of high inflation rate should be attributed to tremendous rise in oil and food item prices globally in the last couples of months and government had taking initiative on the fiscal side.

''On monetary side, definitely, the apex bank is expected to take some necessary actions. We are waiting for its stance,'' Mr Reddy said and added, however, the liquidity in the system is adequate thus there is not much to worry about.

UNI

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