Global banking giant Goldman Sachs has said it expects inflation to remain high this summer and the Reserve Bank is likely to further hike interest rates by 75 basis points or more this calender year.
"The April print and the February revision confirms our view that inflation will remain uncomfortably high for the RBI through the summer...We continue to expect an above consensus 75 basis points in rate hikes in the remainder of 2011," Goldman Sachs said in its latest issue of 'Asia Economics Data Flash'.
Headline inflation in April stood at 8.66 %. It has remained above the 8 % mark since January 2010. Further, the inflation figure for February has been revised upward to 9.54 % from the provisional estimate of 8.31 %.
Goldman further added that RBI was expected to hike its key policy rates by 25 basis points during the apex bank's next mid-quarterly review on June 16. On Saturday, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said that inflationary pressures may continue on account of high global commodity prices. "We are told that there could be pressure on commodity prices...When there is uncertainty in the global market, particularly on those products for which we have to depend through imports, naturally it would affect," Mukherjee said. RBI has hiked its short-term lending (repo) and borrowing (reverse repo) rates nine times since March 2010 to curb demand and tame inflation.
The latest hike of 50 basis points was announced in its monetary policy review for 2011-12 on May 3. In its policy, the apex bank has projected headline inflation to average 9 % during the first half of the fiscal, before moderating to around 6 % by March 2012.
It said that although pressure from price rise in the food segment has fallen, high global commodity prices, particularly of crude, is expected to keep inflation high. International oil prices have been well above USD 100 per barrel since January on account of various issues, including political turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa. State-run oil marketing companies recently increased petrol prices by over Rs 5 per litre and retail rates of diesel and LPG are also expected to be hiked soon.
Experts said the effect of the fuel price hike would be evident in the headline inflation figures for May, which are to be released next month.