New Delhi: The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) status quo on key policy rates was in line with expectations and it should wait until the budget to lower rates, former chairman of the Prime Minister’s economic advisory council C. Rangarajan said on Tuesday.

“The policy has been very much on expected lines. It is prudent and wise to wait a little longer before taking any decision on lowering the interest rate.

“We do not know very much about what the monsoon is going to be. The new budget is yet to be unveiled and, therefore, the decision to lower the interest rate will have to come after some of these events are over with," Rangarajan said in an interview to a news channel.

RBI, in its second bi-monthly monetary policy statement for 2014-15, kept the repo rate unchanged at 8%. It also reduced the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) for banks by 0.5% to 22.5%, a move that will unlock about 40,000 crore of funds. Rangarajan said any downward revision in interest rates would have to wait until the inflation rate shows definite signs of decline.

“We have seen some decline in the wholesale price inflation but retail inflation continues to remain at a high level and it has not also shown signs of decline," he said. Retail inflation as measured by the consumer price index accelerated to a three-month high of 8.59% in April, pushed up by a sharp spike in food prices.

On the reduction in the SLR ratio, he said it was a signal from the point of view of long-term reforms.

“But the most important point is that as the capital inflows come in, there is going to be a monetary expansion which may be quite high and, therefore, the availability of credit both for the government and the private sector is not going to be a constraining factor," he said.

Close