2019: RBI will surprise with Feb rate cut

Consensus said:

RBI expected to keep rates on hold at their February meeting. 

We said:

The new RBI chief will be more amenable to the government's demands. Das seems inclined towards easier monetary conditions and could help start a rate-cut cycle as early as February.

On his first day in office in December, Das said that the inflation outlook was benign. With headline CPI inflation well below the central bank's 4% target for the past five months, the RBI faces pressure to cut interest rates now. Das may take a more pro-growth view, and the forthcoming 7 February monetary policy committee meeting - the first under his governorship - will clarify his view on inflation. As the RBI governor, Das holds the casting vote in the event of a tie. 

Outcome:

RBI cut rates by 25bps in a move which shocked markets and analysts. 

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