Loan Interest Rates: How much worse will loan interest rates get for borrowers this FY? Here’s what experts say

The Reserve Bank of India in its monetary policy review today announced a hike of 0.50% in the repo rate, standing deposit facility and marginal standing facility. The overall repo rate has witnessed an increase of 0.9% since May 4, 2022. As per the experts, things will get much worse for borrowers. This is because, experts believe, to further tame inflation the central bank will hike key policy rates to pre-pandemic levels. Experts believe that by the end of this financial year (i.e. March 31, 2023) the key policy rates will be hiked to 6% – an increase of 1.1%.

Here’s what they are saying:

Upasna Bhardwaj, Chief Economist, : The 50bps repo rate hike comes on the back of persistence of elevated inflation and the continued upside risks. Given that inflation is expected to remain above 6% through 3QFY23 , RBI has to frontload actions. We continue to see another 60-85bps hike in rest of FY23 to manage inflationary expectations.

Abheek Barua, Chief Economist, : The RBI is concerned about the broad-based nature of the increase in inflation and the risk of the second-round impact on inflation expectations. Therefore, the policy rate is likely to be raised well beyond the pre-pandemic level, close to 6% by fiscal year-end.

Suvodeep Rakshit, Senior Economist at Kotak Institutional Equities: The tone of the policy continues to be hawkish and we expect the RBI to continue hiking repo rate to ensure a neutral to marginally positive real policy rate. We expect 35 bps repo rate hike in the August policy to 5.25% and repo rate at 5.75% by end-FY2023. Along with pushing the repo rate to above the pre-pandemic level, a 35 bps hike would also signal a gradual normalization in the policy actions while being adequately hawkish. We also expect another 50 bps hike in CRR to 5% by end-FY2023 to move the liquidity conditions towards the pre-pandemic levels.

Arun Kumar, Head of Research, FundsIndia: With this hike, RBI is closer to bringing the repo rate back to the pre-covid levels of 5.15%. The RBI has clearly acknowledged the inflation risks primarily driven by food and commodity prices and revised its FY23 inflation projection upwards by 100 bps to 6.7% (from 5.7% in the April meeting). The 2% to 6% inflation band is now expected to be breached for three consecutive quarters. Given this context, RBI is expected to front-load its rate hike actions.

Madhavi Arora, Lead Economist, Emkay Global Financial Services: FY23 could thus further see rates going up by 75 bps+, with the RBI now showing its intent to keep real rates neutral or above to quickly reach pre-Covid levels. Our Taylor’s estimate shows a max tightening of policy rate by 6% by FY23, of which liquidity tightening to 2% of NDTL is tantamount to another estimated 25bps of effective rate hike.

Rajni Thakur, Chief Economist, : With multiple risks on price levels driven largely by external factors, the rate hikes will help anchor inflation expectations and impact the actual inflation outcome to a much lesser extent. This also, makes it difficult to gauge a terminal rate level for the cycle, even though, continual rate hike expectations till pre-Covid levels have been firmed up by the fact that Monetary Policy stance has changed from “accommodative with focus on withdrawal of liquidity” to “focus on withdrawal of accommodation”. We now expect a further rate hike of 50 bps in August, taking Repo rates higher than pre-Covid levels, followed by pause to re-access the macro-dynamics and hikes in smaller quantum thereafter pushing year end Repo-rates close to 6% levels.

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