UPDATE 1-India's central bank cuts rates yet again in bid to revive growth

Swati Bhat and Euan Rocha

(Adds details, context and background on policy, economy)

MUMBAI, Oct 4 (Reuters) - The Reserve Bank of India on Friday cut interest rates for a fifth straight meeting this year, stepping up its efforts to kickstart an economy growing at its slowest pace in six years.

The central bank, which also downgraded its 2019-20 growth forecast, said it will maintain its current "accommodative" policy stance "as long as it is necessary" to revive growth, and ensure inflation remains within target.

The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) cut the repo rate by 25 basis points to 5.15%, in line with expectations in a Reuters poll. The reverse repo rate was reduced to 4.9%.

All six MPC members voted in favour of a rate cut and for retaining the accommodative stance, the statement said.

Markets were little changed as the RBI decision was largely in-line with expectations.

The broader NSE Index, which was up 0.60% before the policy decision, pared those gains after the rate cut and were last up 0.06%. The 10-year benchmark bond yield rose to 6.64% from 6.59% before the announcement, while the rupee was largely flat at 70.83 per dollar.


"While the recent measures announced by the government are likely to help strengthen private consumption and spur private investment activity, the continuing slowdown warrants intensified efforts to restore the growth momentum," the MPC, said in its statement.

To revive the faltering economy, the government in September announced a steep cut in the corporate tax rate - to 22% from 30% - triggering the biggest intraday gain in Indian stocks in more than a decade.

Asia's third-largest economy expanded by just 5% in the June quarter, its slowest pace since 2013, on the back of low consumer demand and a slowdown in government spending amid global trade frictions.

The weak GDP numbers prompted several economists to lower their growth projections.

The RBI also cut its real GDP growth forecast for 2019-20 to 6.1% from a prior projection of 6.9%.

The RBI has now cumulatively lowered interest rates by 135 bps this year, but the central bank said that "transmission has remained staggered and incomplete."

It noted that the weighted average lending rate on fresh loans has fallen by just 29 bps, versus the 110 bps cut, ahead of today's announcement. (Reporting by Swati Bhat and Euan Rocha Editing by Shri Navaratnam)