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Lending, deposit rates not to fall: Bankers

October 24, 2008 13:30 IST

Bankers said on Friday they do not expect lending and deposit rates to decline in the immediate term following the Reserve Bank's decision to leave key rates untouched on Friday.

"I don't expect rates to come down for sometime now. Everybody will wait and watch to see how the financial markets settle down," Citibank India CFO Abhijit Sen told PTI.

With a slew of measures already taken earlier in the month to infuse liquidity into the system, the mid-term policy stance was not very surprising, he said.

The central bank also lowered economic growth projection to 7.5-8 per cent for 2008-09 from the earlier estimate of 8 per cent, while retaining inflation forecast unchanged at 7 per cent for the period ending March 2009.

The policy is aimed at ensuring stability in the financial markets, HDFC Bank's [Get Quote] Deputy Treasurer Ashish Parthasarathy said.

There were some expectations of a further easing of monetary policy and in that sense, perhaps, the RBI leaving its key rates untouched is a bit of a surprise. But overall, the stance is clear--the RBI wants a stable financial system," Parthasarathy said.

The RBI's 2.5 per cent cut in CRR and the one per cent repo rate cut announced earlier this month have injected stability into the banking system, Yes Bank's [Get Quote] managing director and CEO Rana Kapoor said.

While the key rates have been left unchanged for now, Kapoor expected a further cut in CRR and repo rate, going forward. 

"More relaxations are warranted going forward, given that this is the busy season," he said.

Kapoor too expected lending and deposit rates to remain unchanged in the near-term.  

The Reserve Bank has sent a clear signal that growth cannot be compromised, Citibank's Sen said.

The 7.5-8 per cent economic growth target is more realistic given the way the overall financial situation has evolved in the last few weeks, Kapoor said.

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