Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may go for a "token cut" in interest rates in its upcoming policy review on February 3, according to a report by State Bank of India (SBI).
"We continue to maintain that the first rate cut could happen any time after the Budget, though the probability of a token cut on February 3 may have increased. We are penciling in a 75 basis point rate cut in 2015," SBI chief economist Saumya Kanti Ghosh said here on Wednesday in a report titled 'Triple Macro Bonanza'.
The report said that 5 per cent consumer price index-based inflation and 0.1 per cent WPI prints in December are a positive surprise, leading to a strong possibility of March retail inflation coming in at 5.5 per cent, which is lower than the 6 per cent mean inflation target set by the RBI.
Mr Ghosh said that he has based his belief on lower inflation to the banking major's Corporate Pricing Power Index which is at a five-year low now, while the SBI Pass-through Index is at a 5.5-year low.
"With global commodity and oil prices continuing to be benign, it is understood that the pass-through index could head even lower in the coming days. This will have a positive impact on SBI corporate pricing power index, and hence the entrenched disinflationary impetus should continue," he said in the report.
Though he termed the surprise jump in the November IIP numbers at 3.8 per cent as "positive", it still shows that consumer sentiment continues to remain weak and declining bank credit reveals a spot of bother.
Noting that consumers' leverage is increasing, he noted in the report that total credit card outstanding has reached the Rs 29,500-crore mark, which is the highest since the December 2008 level. This is despite the overall low credit growth in the economy, the report said.
Credit card spends grew 22.1 per cent in November, which is a little lower than 25.8 per cent during the previous month. All through 2014, credit card spends have been in high double digits, except for April, the report said.
In line with credit card loans, personal loans have also grown by 16.3 per cent as well as 15.4 per cent in October and November respectively. This shows that leverage among consumer segment is increasing, it added.