HIGHLIGHTS: In its fourth bi-monthly monetary policy for the current fiscal, RBI cut benchmark repurchase (repo) rate from 7.25 percent to 6.75 percent, lowest in four-and-half-years.
RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, who had faced growing pressure from the government as also industry to reduce one of Asia's highest borrowing costs, justified the bigger than expected reduction saying consumer inflation was likely to be at 5.8 percent, below the 6 percent target for January.
The focus should now shift to bringing inflation to around 5 percent by March 2017, he said, adding that RBI will be vigilant for signs of monetary policy adjustments that are needed to stick to the 'deflationary path'.
He also drew comfort from US Federal Reserve delaying the first hike in interest rates in nine years, which may have put emerging market currencies under pressure. RBI lowered its economic growth forecast for the current fiscal to 7.4 percent from its previous projection of 7.6 percent.
"While the Reserve Bank's stance will continue to be accommodative, the focus of monetary action for the near term will shift to working with the government to ensure that impediments to banks passing on the bulk of the cumulative 125 basis points cut in the policy rate are removed," Rajan said.
The reduction comes on the back of interest rates being cut thrice earlier this year by 25 basis points each.
In its fourth bi-monthly monetary policy for the current fiscal, RBI cut benchmark repurchase (repo) rate from 7.25 percent to 6.75 percent, lowest in four-and-half-years.