Jaitley says hopes rates will ease if inflation cools

NEW DELHI Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:38pm IST

Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley speaks during a news conference in Srinagar June 15, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Ismail

Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley speaks during a news conference in Srinagar June 15, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Danish Ismail

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday he hoped interest rates would be reduced should inflation ease, days after data showed consumer prices easing to their lowest since figures were first published in January 2012.

"Interest rates have gone up. Hopefully, if inflation moderates, they will come down," Jaitley told parliament.

Jaitley did not give specifics on the level of inflation.

Data on Monday showed consumer prices led inflation eased to 7.31 percent in June, helped by a slowdown in food inflation and a favourable statistical base.

The Reserve Bank of India uses retail prices as its main inflation gauge while setting its monetary policy. It will next review rates on Aug. 5.

The central bank is not statutorily independent from the finance ministry, but its bureaucrats prize autonomy.

(Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh; Writing by Neha Dasgupta; Editing by Rafael Nam)

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