We promised we’d only return to this when we had a bit more clarity about who might step into Raghuram Rajan’s shoes at the RBI when he leaves in September.
Well, does this from the Times of India yesterday count?
NEW DELHI: The government has narrowed its long list of candidates for the next Reserve Bank of India governor to just four.
The four short-listed candidates are: Reserve Bank of India deputy governor Urjit Patel, former deputy governors Rakesh Mohan and Subir Gokarn and State Bank of India chief Arundhati Bhattacharya.
Yes. At the least, it’s three less names to deal with than we had last time. Read more
Courtesy of Nomura’s Sonal Varma:
It has been a difficult Monday morning for India’s bankers, economists and analysts. Not only has the Rajan-era come to an unexpected close but the monsoon has thumped into the country. Now, where once certainty and clean pants existed, a world of confusion and splashed trouser legs sits soddenly.
The usual notes are coming through into our inbox too, most expressing said confusion and near-term worry, even though markets are shrugging a bit so far. Here’s a one month view of the INR and the Sensex: Read more
Raghuram Rajan, the luddite at the RBI (for now at least) has been banging on a particular drum for a while.
He told the world — at an IMF conference in Delhi earlier this year — that a system of rules governing the effects of monetary policy (or behaviour, if you will) would be nice. It would be based primarily on spillovers and ranked according to a Green, Orange, Red system familiar to anyone who has ever had a work-review of anything, ever. Green equals good, for those who have understandably repressed previous encounters with this type of system.
In a subsequent paper Rajan put more meat on the bones of his idea and now here it is in handy table form laying out those suggested rules for the monetary game, courtesy of Prachi Mishra, also of the RBI and Rajan’s occasional co-author: Read more
Once you’ve had a luddite at the Reserve Bank of India it’s hard to go back…
Amongst other things Rajan stabilised the rupee, brought inflation under some sort of control (with some outside help) which has allowed him to cut rates, overseen institutional changes at the RBI, has started to get a grip on India’s problem loans, and was a big part of convincing Delhi to crack down on willful defaulters and others who used to have avenues of political appeal when their loans were being questioned.
He also managed to thoroughly woo much of Mumbai’s financial community while doing so.
And now he might be off. As in, when his current term ends. Read more
I don’t know what you want to call me. Santa Claus is what, eh, [journalist x] called me earlier. You want to call me a hawk.. I don’t know. I don’t go by these things. My name is Raghuram Rajan and I do what I do.
- The RBI governor, 29 September
And yes, that’s certainly A reason for why he cut the policy rate 50bps to 6.75 per cent on Tuesday, twice what had been expected.
Here’s another one, via Credit Suisse’s Neelkanth Mishra: Read more
RBI governor Rajan, when not being taken to task by a tie-less Bernanke, recently railed against QE spillovers. Most pertinently he said (with our emphasis):
By downplaying the adverse effects of cross-border monetary transmission of unconventional policies, we are overlooking the elephant in the post-crisis room. I see two dangers here. One is that any remaining rules of the game are breaking down. Our collective endorsement of unconventional monetary policies essentially says it is ok to distort asset prices if there are other domestic constraints to reviving growth, such as the zero-lower bound. But net spillovers, rather than fancy acronyms, should determine internationally acceptable policy.
Otherwise, countries could legitimately practice what they might call quantitative external easing or QEE, whereby they intervene to keep their exchange rate down and build huge reserves. The reason we frowned on QEE in the past is because we believed the adverse spillover effects for the rest of the world were significant. If we are unwilling, however, to evaluate all policies based on their spillover effects, there is no legitimate way multilateral institutions can declare that QEE contravenes the rules of the game. Indeed, some advanced economy central bankers have privately expressed their worry to me that QE “works” primarily by altering exchange rates, which makes it different from QEE only in degree rather than in kind.
“If you do a Volcker, you kill the supply side, and then you are in a bad situation,” Mr Rajan said during an interview in November. Erm…
If inflation truly is public enemy number one, then Indians at last have someone who may be up to the task. Step forward Raghuram Rajan, a few months into the role of central bank governor and India’s could-be Paul Volcker.
Awkward. But it’s his own fault. Read more
“I still find it difficult to imagine a father presenting his favourite daughter with a certificate for a gold-linked exchange traded fund on her big day,” says one senior policy maker.
That’s from a long Diwali read on India’s gold obsession by Avantika Chilkoti and James Crabtree which is well worth your time and to which we might add a cheeky few thoughts — it seems the RBI’s attempts to offer alternative to India’s gold-lust says more than a little about the limitations facing the central bank and Rajan. Read more
To be added to the growing collection of central bank educational tools… Frankly, this isn’t a patch on the ECB’s Top Floor or the BoE’s Monetary Policy Balloon (and I won’t even bother comparing it to Inflation Island, a giant of the genre) but, tbf, the RBI probably has less resources to throw at its gaming division.