Indian stocks gather steam with eyes fixed at monetary policy outcome

Jun 07, 2023

New Delhi [India], June 7 : Indian stock indices managed to trade on a positive note throughout Wednesday's session and settled substantially high with all eyes now focused on the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) decision from the ongoing bi-monthly monetary policy review.
Benchmark Sensex and Nifty settled around 0.5 per cent from their previous close.
The monetary policy committee, headed by RBI governor Shaktikanta Das, will announce on Thursday 10 AM decisions taken in the meeting. A majority of analysts, though, expect the RBI will continue to keep the repo rate unchanged at 6.5 per cent.
A consistent decline in inflation (currently at an 18-month low) and its potential for further decline may prompt the central bank to put the brake on the rate again. RBI's consistent monetary policy tightening since mid-2022 could be attributed to the substantial decline in inflation numbers in the country.
"Domestic equities ended with decent gains ahead of the RBI policy outcome. The central bank is expected to maintain its status quo as growth remains strong along with easing inflation," Siddhartha Khemka, Head - Retail Research, Motilal Oswal Financial Services.
"Markets are gradually inching higher along with a lot of action in the mid and small-cap space. We expect the northbound journey to continue in the index on back better than expected macro data and supportive global cues. Rural and agri-related stocks are likely to be in focus with the arrival of monsoon in India, which is expected to be normal this year."
The RBI in its April meeting paused the repo rate.
Barring the April pause, the RBI raised the repo rate by 250 basis points cumulatively to 6.5 per cent since May 2022 in the fight against inflation. Raising interest rates is a monetary policy instrument that typically helps suppress demand in the economy, thereby helping the inflation rate decline.
Besides putting a brake on the interest, the RBI may also give a fresh outlook on growth and inflation 2023-24 after GDP numbers for 2022-23 came above estimated figures.
As per the provisional estimates released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) recently, real GDP growth for 2022-23 stood at 7.2 per cent, higher than the 7 per cent projected.
"Investors are becoming more optimistic due to the anticipation of a positive revision in the RBI's inflation forecast during the ongoing MPC meeting. It is expected that the RBI will maintain its pause on rate hikes, considering the significant improvement in inflation, which has now come within the RBI's comfort zone," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.
Nair said today's rise in stocks could be attributed to the participation of Foreign Institutional Buyers (FIIs) after a brief halt.
Foreign investors have remained net buyers in Indian stock markets for the fourth straight month now, data from the National Securities Depository (NSDL) revealed. They bought Indian stocks worth Rs 7,936 crore, Rs 11,631 crore, and Rs 43,838 in March, April, and May, respectively. So far in June, they have already bought assets worth Rs 7,731 crore.