Rate cuts may be delayed with RBI focus on rupee: Barclays

Rate cuts may be delayed with RBI focus on rupee: Barclays New Delhi: With the Reserve Bank's policy focus geared towards supporting the rupee, the central bank may delay easing rates to between December and April 2014, a Barclays report says.

According to the global brokerage firm, the RBI is likely to remain focused on supporting the rupee, which has depreciated by more than 13 percent since May and crossed the psychological level of 62 against the dollar last week.

"As such, while the focus is on the INR, we think monetary policy calibration will eventually be biased towards further easing, rather than tightening. However, we think further policy easing will likely be delayed," Barclays said in a research note.

The financial services major believes key policy rates would be eased by as much as 75 basis points in this fiscal but it would be a "delayed" affair.

"We still expect 75 bp of repo rate cuts, but now we expect them to take place between December 2013 and April 2014, rather than our initial expectation of September -December 2013," Barclays said.

The industry has been demanding a cut in key policy rate to boost economic activities. Industrial output contracted for the second consecutive month in June.

Moreover, inflation rose for the second consecutive month and shot up to 5.79 percent in July, driven largely by double-digit rise in prices of food articles, including vegetables and onions.

The RBI, in its First Quarter Review of Monetary Policy on July 30, left all key interest rates unchanged.

The repo rate, at which the RBI lends to the system, was kept at 7.25 percent and the cash reserve ratio, the amount of deposits banks park with it, was unchanged at 4 percent.

The RBI is scheduled to hold its next mid-quarter review of policy on September 18.

PTI