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Wednesday,08-December-2021

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Petrol, diesel prices rise again on fresh surge in global oil prices

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 Prices of auto fuels petrol and diesel rose on Friday too as global oil surged again, with benchmark Brent crude gaining over 1 per cent to cross $83 a barrel.

Diesel prices increased by a sharp 35 paisa in the national capital to Rs 92.12 per litre on Friday while petrol prices increased by 30 paisa to Rs 103.54 a litre, according to the Indian Oil Corporation, the country’s largest fuel retailer.

Diesel prices have now increased on 12 out of the last 15 days taking up its retail price by Rs 3.50 per litre in Delhi. Its prices increased between 20-30 paisa per litre so far, but since Wednesday, it breached this to a 35 paisa per litre increase.

With diesel prices rising sharply, the fuel is now available at over Rs 100 a litre in several parts of Madhya Pradesh. This dubious distinction was earlier available to petrol that had crossed the Rs 100 a litre mark across the country a few months earlier. The fuel is getting close to Rs 100 a litre in Mumbai at Rs 99.92 a litre now.

Petrol prices had maintained stability since September 5 but oil companies finally raised its pump prices last week and this week given a spurt in the product prices lately. Petrol prices have also risen on nine of the previous 11 days taking up its pump price by Rs 2.35 per litre.

OMCs had preferred to maintain their watch prices on global oil situation before making any revision in prices. This is the reason why petrol prices were not revised for last three weeks. But extreme volatility in global oil price movement has now pushed the OMCs to effect the increase.

In Mumbai, the petrol price increased by 29 paisa to reach Rs 109.54 per litre while diesel rates increased by 37 paisa to climb to Rs 99.92 a litre.

Across the country as well, petrol and diesel increased between 30-40 paisa per litre but their retail rates varied depending on the level of local taxes in the state.

Fuel prices in the country have been hovering at record levels on account of 41 increases in its retail rates since April this year. It fell on few occasions but largely remained stable.

Crude price has been on a surge rising over three year high level of over $83 a barrel now. Since September 5, when both petrol and diesel prices were revised, the price of petrol and diesel in the international market is higher by around $9-10 per barrel as compared to average prices during August.

Under the pricing formula adopted by oil companies, rates of petrol and diesel are to be reviewed and revised by them on a daily basis. The new prices becomes effective from morning at 6 a.m.

The daily review and revision of prices is based on the average price of benchmark fuel in the international market in the preceding 15-days, and foreign exchange rates.

But, the fluctuations in global oil prices have prevented OMCs from following this formula in totality and revisions are now being made with longer gaps. This has also prevented companies from increasing fuel prices whenever there is a mismatch between globally arrived and pump price of fuel.

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Reduction in taxes on fuel to ease inflationary pressure: RBI guv

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 Reduction in Central excise as well as state VAT on petrol and diesel is expected to ease domestic inflationary pressure, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Wednesday.

In a virtual address post the monetary policy meet, the RBI Governor Das said that
headline CPI inflation ticked up in October to 4.5 per cent from 4.3 per cent in September, after falling sharply between June and September.

This uptick, he said mainly reflected a spike in vegetable prices due to unseasonal rains in some parts of the country.

Besides, Das cited hardening of international energy prices that have kept domestic LPG and kerosene prices elevated for nearly three quarters, edging up fuel inflation to 14.3 per cent in October.

“The persistence of high core inflation since June 2020 is an area of policy concern in view of input cost pressures that could rapidly be transmitted to retail inflation as demand strengthens.”

“In this context, the reduction of excise duty and VAT on petrol and diesel will bring about a durable reduction in inflation by way of direct effects as well as indirect effects operating through fuel and transportation costs.”

Furthermore, he said price pressures may persist in the immediate term.

“Vegetable prices are expected to see a seasonal correction with winter arrivals in view of bright prospects for the rabi crop.”

“Supply side interventions by the Government have limited the fallout of continuing high international edible oil prices on domestic prices. Though crude oil prices have seen some correction in the recent period, a durable containment of price pressures would hinge on strong global supply responses to match the pick-up in demand as pandemic restrictions ease.”

However, Das pointed out that cost-push pressures continue to impinge on core inflation, though their pass-through may remain muted due to the slack in the economy.

“Over the rest of the year, inflation prints are likely to be somewhat higher as base effects turn adverse; however, it is expected that headline inflation will peak in Q4:2021-22 and soften thereafter.”

In addition, the RBI retained its CPI-based inflation projection at 5.3 per cent for FY22.

The CPI inflation is expected to ease to 5 per cent in Q1FY23 and stay at 5 per cent in Q2FY23.

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RBI maintains India’s FY22 GDP growth projection at 9.5%

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday maintained India’s GDP growth projection for the current financial year to 9.5 per cent on accelerated economic recovery along with pent-up demand.

Accordingly, GDP is expected to grow at 6.6 per cent in Q3, 6 per cent in Q4, 17.2 per cent in Q1FY23 and at 7.8 per cent for Q2FY23.

In a virtual address after the MPC’s bi-monthly meet, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said: “Incoming information indicates that consumption demand has been improving, with pent-up demand getting reinforced by the festive season. Rural demand is exhibiting resilience and farm employment is picking up with the robust performance of agriculture and allied activities, supported by a strong start to rabi sowing.”

“Other indicators like railway freight traffic, port cargo, GST receipts, toll collections, petroleum consumption and air passenger traffic have also picked up in October or November.”

Besides, he said that recent reductions in excise duty and state VAT on petrol and diesel should support consumption demand by increasing purchasing power.

Das cited that the government consumption has been picking up from August, providing support to aggregate demand.

Furthermore, he said the Centre’s relaxation of additional market borrowings by states equivalent to 0.5 per cent of gross state domestic product (GSDP) subject to certain capex related milestones and the decision to front-load tax devolution are likely to bolster capital outlays of the states.

He pointed out that the Centre’s focus on ‘capex’ should crowd in private investment, which has remained in a prolonged state of muted activity.

“Overall, the recovery that had been interrupted by the second wave of the pandemic is regaining traction, but it is not yet strong enough to be self-sustaining and durable. This underscores the vital importance of continued policy support.”

“Downside risks to the outlook have risen with the emergence of Omicron and renewed surges of Covid-19 infections in a number of countries.”

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RBI keeps lending rates intact, remains accommodative

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 To support a durable as well as lasting economic recovery amid concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday retained its key lending rates along with the growth-oriented accommodative stance during the pan-ultimate monetary policy review of FY22.

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of India’s central bank voted to maintain the repo rate, or short-term lending rate, for commercial banks at 4 per cent.

Repo Rate (RR) is the rate at which the RBI lends money to commercial banks or financial institutions against government securities.

The reverse repo rate was also kept unchanged at 3.35 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the ‘Bank Rate’ at 4.25 per cent.

It was widely expected that MPC would hold rates along with the accommodative stance.

In a virtual address after the MPC’s bi-monthly meet, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said that economic recovery disrupted by the second wave of the pandemic is gaining traction.

However, this recovery is still not strong enough to be self sustaining and durable, thereby, supportive policy measures such as accommodative stance are required.

Besides, RBI retained India’s FY22 GDP growth projection at 9.5 per cent.

Das pointed out that GDP is expected to grow at 6.6 per cent in Q3, 6 per cent in Q4, 17.2 per cent in Q1FY23 and at 7.8 per cent for Q2FY23.

“Overall, the recovery that had been interrupted by the second wave of the pandemic is regaining traction, but it is not yet strong enough to be self-sustaining and durable. This underscores the vital importance of continued policy support,” Das said.

“Downside risks to the outlook have risen with the emergence of Omicron and renewed surges of Covid-19 infections in a number of countries.”

Furthermore, the CPI-based inflation is projected at 5.3 per cent for FY22.

The CPI inflation is expected to ease to 5 per cent in Q1FY23 and stay at 5 per cent in Q2FY23.

“In the current situation, it is important to keep inflation aligned with the target while focusing on a robust growth recovery,” Das said.

“Simultaneously, the Reserve Bank remains cognisant of the need to ensure that financial conditions are rebalanced in a systematic, calibrated and well-telegraphed manner while preventing build-up of financial stability risks,” the RBI governor added.

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