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RBI taking inflation, inflationary expectations seriously: Uday Kotak

Reserve Bank of India’s surprise move to hike repo rate reflects that the central bank is taking inflation and inflationary expectations very ‘seriously’, veteran Banker Uday said on Wednesday. He expects a 100 basis points repo rate hike in the current fiscal.

The RBI on Wednesday after an unscheduled MPC meeting hiked the benchmark lending rate by 40 basis points (bps) to 4.40 per cent to contain inflation that has remained stubbornly above the target of 6 per cent for the last three months.

“It was pretty clear that the wolf of inflation is getting more entrenched. And therefore, there was clearly a need to move. I read this (repo rate hike) as a very strong message by the RBI that they’re taking the point on inflation and inflationary expectations seriously and you cannot allow the wolf to get deep in it and then becomes that much trouble to get the wolf out,” Kotak, the managing director and CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank, told reporters.

Kotak said as the increase in repo rates get priced into deposit rates, MCLR-based loans will gradually get repriced.

The loans linked to repo rate too will get repriced.

On impact of the rate hike on the bank’s book, he said, “Our book is the largest in repo rate benchmarked, followed by MCLR-based benchmark. We have the smallest fixed rate loan book. Impact for us to be able to pass on appropriately based on RBI pricing is fair and reasonable.”

Speaking on the initial public offering (IPO) of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), which opened for subscription on Wednesday, Kotak said the retail investors’ response on the first day of the issue was one of the most heartening things.

“LIC is a very strong brand in the minds of every investor. When you have such a strong brand and a national franchise of the scale and size of LIC, I am very happy with the retail investors’ response which has come today,” Kotak said.

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