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RBI to keep watch on long-term data for rate cuts: HDFC CEO

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will keep a close watch on certain data like crude oil prices, US economic data and monsoon, to consider a future cut in its lending rates, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of HDFC Keki Mistry said.

"There are three-four sources of data that the RBI would keep looking at -- they would look at how crude prices progress, at how the monsoons span out, any further commentary that comes from the (US) Fed, any data on the US economy and then take a call for," Mistry told BTVi in an interview.

"I believe that if all goes well, there will still be scope for the RBI to cut rates further by 25 basis points."

The country's central bank on Wednesday kept key lending rates unchanged in its sixth and final monetary policy review for the 2016-17 fiscal, saying it awaits more data on inflation trends and on the impact of demonetisation on economic growth.

The RBI also shifted its monetary policy stance from accommodative to neutral, citing inflationary fears and global uncertainties.

Mistry said the status quo decision of the central bank would have no impact on the cost of funds.

"A marginal impact on incremental cost of funds always happens when markets are a little surprised with the credit policy," Mistry explained.

"There's no need for the markets to get surprised because there could have been some argument for the reduction of rates. But there was also equal argument for keeping rates status quo."

According to Mistry, the RBI would probably look take a long-term look while considering any further rate cuts.

"The US interest rates are getting higher, while in India we keep lowering the rates, and the gap inflates between the countries," he said.

"That can create inflaionary pressure, because that results in a depreciation of the rupee. I think all these factors should have been kept in mind by the RBI."
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