India Stocks, Bonds Gain as RBI to Keep System Flush With Cash
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) logo is displayed outside the central bank in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Kanishka Sonthali/Bloomberg)

India Stocks, Bonds Gain as RBI to Keep System Flush With Cash

India stocks rose along with bonds after the Reserve Bank of India pledged to ensure adequate liquidity in the system while keeping interest rates low to support growth.

The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 1% at the close, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index gained by about the same magnitude. Both gauges have added at least 2% this week and closed at new highs after a fifth straight week of gains.

Shorter bonds rallied as the RBI desisted from announcing measures to remove excess banking liquidity. Yield on 6.18% 2024 bond fell 9 basis points to 4.77%, while that on 5.22% 2025 bond declined 10 basis points to 5.03%.The most traded 5.77% 2030 yield slipped 3 basis points to 5.9%.

The rupee held on to its gain, up 0.2% to 73.7962 per US dollar.

The monetary policy committee decided to continue with the accommodative stance “as long as necessary at least during the current financial year and into the next year” to revive growth on a durable basis, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said in a briefing. The MPC also kept the key repurchase rate unchanged at 4% for a third consecutive meeting, as high inflation left little room to ease further.

“We view this move as a positive step toward anchoring bond yields and expect a further easing from current levels,” said Lakshmi Iyer, chief investment officer for fixed income at Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Co. “While inflation guidance has been increased, there seems to be no urgency to withdraw liquidity prematurely as growth considerations remain equally strong.”

Inflation at 7.6% in October was well above the upper end of the central bank’s 2%-6% target band and the RBI expects the pace of price rises to remain sticky. The monetary authority sees inflation in the fiscal third quarter at 6.8%, well above its targeted range.

The RBI also revised its outlook for the economy, predicting a milder 7.5% contraction this fiscal year as opposed to its reading in October for a 9.5% decline. That follows a less-than-expected drop in gross domestic product in the three months to September, the second straight quarterly contraction.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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