Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das is holding a press conference at 4 pm on Monday as market mayhem continues due to concerns about the coronavirus (Covid-19)pandemic.
There are speculations that Mr Das may announce a rate cut. If it happens, this will be first inter-meeting rate reduction since the monetary policy committee was instituted in February 2016.
The hurried presser comes amid widespread call for a rate cut following similar steps by the world’s leading central banks.
The US Federal Reserve has cut the policy rates to near zero levels in a span of 10 days.
Similarly, the Bank of England has slashed the rates by 50 basis points, and so did the European Central Bank.
In an email, the RBI said that “Governor Shaktikanata Das will meet the press at 4 pm today (Monday).”
Many analysts, over the past week, have said the RBI has legroom to cut rates to the tune of 65 bps by June. Some like Barclays and BofA have also spoken about the likelihood of an inter-meeting cut (before the April 3 policy meeting).
Between February and October 2019, the RBI had cut the policy rates by a cumulative 135 bps to a nine-year low of 5.15 per cent.
Since the coronavirus outbreak that began in China in mid-November last year, over 6,000 people have been killed, most of them in China.
While the pandemic has ebbed in China, the epicentre has moved to Europe now with Italy and Spain being the worst-hit, forcing both the nations to go on complete lock-down.
Markets have been in a free fall over the past week. The BSE Sensex plummeted 3,473.14 points or 9.24 per cent while the NSE Nifty lost 1,034.25 points or 9.41 per cent.
On Monday, the BSE Sensex had plunged over 2,000 points and the Nifty tanked below the 9,300 level.