Monetary Policy Statement 2013-14


The Annual Policy for 2013-14 is formulated in an environment of incipient signs of stabilisation in the global economy and prospects of a turnaround, albeit modest, in the domestic economy.

  1. In the advanced economies (AEs), near-term risks have receded, aided by improving financial conditions and supportive macroeconomic policies. But this improvement is yet to fully transmit to economic activity which remains sluggish. Policy implementation risks and uncertainty about outcomes continue to threaten the prospects of a sustained recovery. Emerging and developing economies (EDEs) are in the process of a multi-speed recovery. However, weak external demand and domestic bottlenecks continue to restrain investment in some of the major emerging economies. Inflation risks appear contained, reflecting negative output gaps and the recent softening of international crude and food prices.

  2. Domestically, growth slowed much more than anticipated, with both manufacturing and services activity hamstrung by supply bottlenecks and sluggish external demand. Most lead indicators suggest a slow recovery through 2013-14. Inflation eased significantly in Q4 of 2012-13 although upside pressures remain, both at wholesale and retail levels, stemming from elevated food inflation and ongoing administered fuel price revisions. The main risks to the outlook are the still high twin deficits accentuated by the vulnerability to sudden stop and reversal of capital flows, inhibited investment sentiment and tightening supply constraints, particularly in the food and infrastructure sectors.

  3. This Statement, set in the above global and domestic context, should be read and understood together with the detailed review in Macroeconomic and Monetary Developments released yesterday by the Reserve Bank.

  4. This Statement is organised in two parts. Part A covers Monetary Policy and is divided into four Sections: Section I provides an overview of global and domestic macroeconomic developments; Section II sets out the outlook and projections for growth, inflation and monetary aggregates; Section III explains the stance of monetary policy; and Section IV specifies the monetary measures. Part B covers developmental and regulatory policies and is organised into five sections: Financial Stability (Section I); Financial Markets (Section II); Credit Delivery and Financial Inclusion (Section III); Regulatory and Supervisory Measures (Section IV) and Institutional Developments (Section V).

    Part A. Monetary Policy

    I. The State of the Economy

    Global Economy

  5. Global economic activity remains subdued amidst signs of diverging growth paths across major economies. In the US, a slow recovery is taking hold, driven by improvements in the housing sector and employment conditions. However, the pace of recovery remains vulnerable to the adverse impact of the budget sequestration which will gradually gain pace in the months ahead. Japan''s economy stopped contracting in Q4 of 2012. There has been some improvement in consumer confidence on account of monetary and fiscal stimulus along with a pick-up in external demand on the back of a weakening yen. In the euro area, recessionary conditions, characterised by deterioration in industrial production, weak exports and low domestic demand, continued into Q1 of 2013. High unemployment, fiscal drag and hesitant progress on financial sector repair have eroded consumer confidence.

  6. Growth in several EDEs rebounded from the moderation in 2012 as domestic demand rose on a turnaround in the inventory cycle and some pick-up in investment. Among BRICS countries, growth accelerated in Brazil and South Africa, while it persisted below trend in China, Russia and India.

  7. Inflation has remained benign in the AEs in the absence of demand pressures, and inflation expectations remain well-anchored. The EDEs, on the other hand, present a mixed picture. While inflation has picked up in Brazil, Russia and Turkey, it has eased in China, Korea, Thailand and Chile.

  8. Reflecting a pessimistic demand outlook, crude oil prices eased in March-April 2013 from the elevated levels prevailing through 2012. Non-energy commodity prices have been easing through Q1 of 2013 on softening metal prices and decline in food prices.

    Domestic Economy

  9. With output expansion of only 4.5 per cent in Q3 of 2012-13, the lowest in 15 quarters, cumulative GDP growth for the period April-December 2012 declined to 5.0 per cent from 6.6 per cent a year ago. This was mainly due to the protracted weakness in industrial activity aggravated by domestic supply bottlenecks, and slowdown in the services sector reflecting weak external demand. The Central Statistics Office (CSO)''s advance estimate of GDP growth for 2012-13 of 5.0 per cent implies that the economy would have expanded by 4.7 per cent in Q4.

  10. The growth of industrial production slid to 0.6 per cent in February 2013 from 2.4 per cent a month ago, mainly due to contraction in mining and electricity generation and slowing growth in manufacturing. Consequently, on a cumulative basis, growth in industrial production decelerated to 0.9 per cent during 2012-13 (April-February) from 3.5 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year. The Reserve Bank''s order books, inventoriesand capacity utilisation survey (OBICUS) suggests that capacity utilisation remained flat.Rabi production, particularly of pulses, is expected to be better than a year ago. However, it may not fully offset the decline in kharif output. Consequently, the second advance estimates of crop production (kharif and rabi) for 2012-13 indicate a decline of 3.5 per cent in relation to the final estimates of the previous year. The composite purchasing managers'' index (PMI), which encompasses manufacturing and services, fell to a 17-month low in March 2013. Thus, most recent indicators suggest that growth in Q4 of 2012-13 would have remained low.

  11. On the demand side, the persisting decline in capital goods production during April 2012 -- February 2013 reflects depressed investment conditions. The moderation in corporate sales and weakening consumer confidence suggest that the slowdown could be spreading to consumption spending.

  12. Headline inflation, as measured by the wholesale price index (WPI), moderated to an average of 7.3 per cent in 2012-13 from 8.9 per cent in the previous year. The easing was particularly significant in Q4 of 2012-13, with the year-end inflation recording at 6.0 per cent. Notwithstanding the moderation in overall inflation, elevated food price inflation was a source of upside pressure through the year owing to the unusual spike in vegetable prices in April 2012 followed by rise in cereal prices on account of the delayed monsoon and the sharp increase in the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy. Fuel inflation averaged in double digits during 2012-13, largely reflecting upward revisions in administered prices and the pass-through of high international crude prices to freely priced items. Non-food manufactured products inflation ruled above the comfort level in the first half of 2012-13 but declined in the second half to come down to 3.5 per cent by March, reflecting easing of input price pressures and erosion of pricing power.

  13. Largely driven by food inflation, retail inflation, as measured by the new combined (rural and urban) consumer price index (CPI) (Base: 2010=100), averaged 10.2 per cent during 2012-13. Even after excluding food and fuel groups, CPI inflation remained sticky, averaging 8.7 per cent. Other CPIs also posted double digit inflation.

  14. Significantly, inflation expectations polled by the Reserve Bank''s urban households'' survey, showed slight moderation in Q4 of 2012-13, even as they remained in double digits, reflecting high food prices. Wage inflation in rural areas, which rose by an average of close to 20 per cent over the period April 2009 to October 2012, declined modestly to 17.4 per cent in January 2013. House price inflation, as measured by the Reserve Bank''s quarterly house price index, continued to rise on a y-o-y basis.

  15. An analysis of corporate performance during Q3 of 2012-13, based on a common sample of 2,473 non-government non-financial companies, indicates that growth of sales as well as profits decelerated significantly. Early results of corporate performance in Q4 indicate continuing moderation in sales though profit margins increased slightly.

  16. Money supply (M3) growth was around 14.0 per cent during Q1 of 2012-13 but decelerated thereafter to 11.2 per cent by end-December as time deposit growth slowed down. There was some pick up in deposit mobilisation in Q4, taking deposit growth to 14.3 per cent by end-March. Consequently, M3 growth reached 13.3 per cent by end-March 2013, slightly above the revised indicative trajectory of 13.0 per cent.

  17. Non-food credit growth decelerated from 18.2 per cent at the beginning of 2012-13 and remained close to 16.0 per cent for the major part of the year. By March 2013, non-food credit growth dropped to 14.0 per cent, lower than the indicative projection of 16.0 per cent, reflecting some risk aversion and muted demand. While the Reserve Bank''s credit conditions survey showed easing of overall credit conditions, there was some tightening for sectors such as metals, construction, infrastructure, commercial real estate, chemicals and finance in Q4 of 2012-13.

  18. The total flow of resources to the commercial sector from banks, non-banks and external sources was higher at `12.8 trillion in 2012-13 as compared with `11.6 trillion in the previous year. This increase was accounted for by higher non-SLR investment by scheduled commercial banks (SCBs), increase in credit flow from NBFCs, gross private placement and public issues by non-financial entities, and higher recourse to short-term credit from abroad and external commercial borrowings.

  19. In consonance with the cuts in the policy repo rate and the cash reserve ratio (CRR)...

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