Coronavirus: RBI cuts repo rate by 75 basis points

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das on Friday announced a cut in the repo rate by 75 basis points to help the economy tide over the coronavirus distress.

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) which was earlier scheduled for March 31-April 3, was advanced to March 25-27 to undertake a careful evaluation of the current and evolving macroeconomic and financial conditions, and the outlook.

After extensive discussions, the MPC voted unanimously for a sizeable reduction in the policy repo rate and for maintaining the accommodative stance of monetary policy as long as necessary to revive growth, mitigate the impact of COVID-19, while ensuring that inflation remains within the target. While there were some differences in the quantum of reduction, the MPC voted with a 4-2 majority to reduce the policy rate by 75 basis points to 4.4 per cent, the Governor said.

Simultaneously, the fixed rate reverse repo rate, which sets the floor of the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) corridor, was reduced by 90 basis points to 4.0 per cent, thus creating an asymmetrical corridor.

This decision and its advancement has been warranted by the destructive force of the corona virus. It is intended to (a) mitigate the negative effects of the virus; (b) revive growth; and above all, (c) preserve financial stability.

“We are living through an extraordinary and unprecedented situation. Everything hinges on the depth of the COVID-19 outbreak, its spread and its duration. Clearly, a war effort has to be mounted and is being mounted to combat the virus, involving both conventional and unconventional measures in continuous battle-ready mode. Life in the time of COVID-19 has been one of unprecedented loss and isolation. Yet, it is worthwhile to remember that tough times never last; only tough people and tough institutions do,” Das said.