RBI hikes CRR, LAF Repo rate

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Major highlights


    CRR hiked by 50 bps in 2 stages effective from 14th and 28th April 2007


    Cut in interest paid on excess CRR above 3% to 0.5% from 1% earlier


    Repo rate hiked by 25bps to 7.75% widening interest rate corridor to 175bps

RBI continues monetary tightening- Hikes CRR and LAF Repo rate

India’s Central Bank once again hiked policy rates to contain inflationary pressures in the economy. This is sighting high credit growth of 29.4% and inflation, which has sustained over 6% for 11 weeks in a row (currently at 6.46%). While the hike in CRR (by 50bps in 2 stages) and Repo rate (by 25bps with immediate effect) is not unwarranted, the timing of the move certainly is; as the Monetary Policy Review is scheduled on April 24, 2007. RBI has also reduced the rate of interest paid on excess CRR (above 3%) maintained with itself from 1% to 0.5%. While inflation is expected to come down from May 2007 due to the high base effect and impact of monetary measures, sustainab le drop is likely with structural changes through capacity additions and better food grain supplies.

All the monetary measures are expected to make money dearer and we expect Banks to once again increase lending and deposit rates. The drop in interest rate on CRR is likely to impact margins marginally by around 2bps, which we expect this to be recovered through lending rates. Sharp rise in interest rates over the past 12 months has seen affordability reduce and could impact asset quality in the future. We maintain our neutral stance on the sector. PNB, BOI and BOB are our top picks, while Canara Bank is our top SELL in our coverage. We are in the process of updating our ratings and will release it soon.


Top SELL- Canara Bank

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