RBI remonetisation vows: Partial target fulfilled till Dec, may need to ramp up currency printing

06 January 2017, 09:05 AM
RBI manages to replace only 44 per cent of currency till Dec instead of 53 as projected: SBI report (PTI File Phot)
RBI manages to replace only 44 per cent of currency till Dec instead of 53 as projected: SBI report (PTI File Phot)

Reserve Bank of India has been able to remonetise only 44 per cent of the banned currency till December-end as against the earlier estimate of 53 per cent, a report said.

One possible reason for this could be that RBI is also printing notes of smaller denominations apart from Rs 500 bills and hence the total value getting replaced is lower than projections, though the number of pieces may not, Ecowrap, an SBI research report said.

“If we assume that the RBI continues to print as it is doing as of now, then by January-end, only about 67 per cent of the currency should get replaced (vis-a-vis earlier estimate at 75 per cent).”

By February, at this rate, the RBI could thus print as much as 89 per cent of the total currency, it said.

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The report, however, said if he the apex bank decides to shift its printing more towards smaller denomination, this number could be close to 80 per cent.It said things will be closer to normal by February-end as opposed to predictions of the currency swap exercise-linked crisis lasting longer.

“If this is the case, the possibility of GDP bounce back faster than anticipated may not be ruled out.”

In any case, a lower growth this year will give the government significant advantage next year in terms of a lower base, the report added.

In case of RBI directives, the report projected that the central bank is unlikely to cut repo rate in the February review meeting due to the prevailing global uncertainties and its stance may continue to be accommodative next year as inflation is expected to remain benign.

“We expect RBI may not oblige with a rate cut in February as global uncertainties may again play spoilsport,” the SBI report said. 

It said inflation trajectory is expected to remain significantly benign. The December inflation numbers may witness a reading closer to 3.2-3.3 per cent.

“Though inflation may increase in March, it may still be closer to the lower band of 4-4.5 per cent. Hence, the scope for accommodative monetary cycle will continue even in the financial year 2017-2018,” the report said.

It further said during April-October, when the repo rare was slashed by 50 basis points, the growth in incremental credit to housing was around Rs 64,000 crore.

In the demonetisation period (November-December 2016), though there was a negative growth in incremental credit, housing credit still managed an increase of Rs 4,063 crore.

“With rate cuts by banks like SBI now being 90 basis points at one go, clearly the evidence is strong for a credit growth rebound at least in the housing sector,” the report said.

First Published: Friday, January 06, 2017 09:01 AM
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