Economists may be have fretted over how demonetization would hit India's economic growth, but the subcontinent's central bank is focused more on its old foe, inflation.
The Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday kept interest rates on hold at its policy meeting on Wednesday. That surprised the market, which had leaned heavily toward expecting a cut, in part because the government's cash curbs had weighed on economic growth.
The demonetization program, which started in November, removed 86 percent of India's currency in circulation by recalling existing 500 ($7.47) and 1,000 ($14.93) rupee notes and later gradually replacing them with newly printed 500 and 2,000 rupee notes.
With much of India's economic activity still cash-based, that had a chilling effect on business.
But RBI Governor Urjit Patel called the effects of demonetization "transitory" and instead pointed to concerns that a "fire sale" in perishable foods was distorting what could be a worrying outlook for inflation.
Goldman Sachs said the move, while it surprised markets, was in line with its expectations.
"RBI's relatively more hawkish tone at this meeting and their goalpost of achieving 4% inflation over the medium term support our view that there are no further rate cuts likely in this cycle,"
Goldman said in a note on Thursday. "We expect headline inflation to hover at the upper end of RBI's target band. Further, abundant liquidity following demonetization, easing lending rates, demonetization's potentially transient impact on growth, the global reflationary environment and higher U.S. bond yields, are all likely to keep the RBI on hold."
Other analysts pointed to similar factors.