Markets ended lower on Friday after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) sprung a surprise and kept the repo rate unchanged at 6.50 percent. The S&P BSE Sensex lost 792 points, or 2.25 per cent, to settle at 34,377 while the broader NSE’s Nifty50 index dropped 283 points, or 2.7 per cent, to close at 10,316. Among specific stocks, shares of oil marketing companies such as HPCL, BPCL and IOC hit 52-week lows after the government announced that it will cut excise duties on petrol and diesel prices and OMCs will absorb Re 1 per litre.
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Monetary policy review: RBI keeps the repo rate unchanged at 6.5 (%) :
Contrary to market expectations, the monetary policy committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank, in its fourth bi-monthly monetary policy review of 2018-19, kept the repo rate unchanged at 6.5 percent on Friday. The central bank said the policy stance has changed to “calibrated tightening” from neutral. Headline inflation was estimated to accelerate to 4.5 per cent by March 2019 quarter with upside risks, it said. RBI retained the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth estimate at 7.4 per cent for FY19 and 7.6 per cent for FY20. In its two previous bimonthly policy reviews, RBI had raised interest rates. In its August policy meeting, the rate-setting panel headed by Governor Urjit Patel had raised the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.50 per cent. Amid the free fall in rupee and boiling crude oil prices, the central bank was widely expected to raise interest rates. The domestic unit on Thursday had crashed to a historic low of 73.81 to the dollar due to the twin-impact of capital outflows triggered by surging US Treasury yields and crude oil prices racing to a four-year high. Reacting to the RBI’s latest policy move to maintain the status quo, the rupee plunged further to slip below the 74-a-dollar mark.