* 10-year bond yield ends steady at 8.16 pct
* RBI adviser Virmani says time to ease policy has arrived-BBG
* Sentiment to remain cautious ahead of Dec. 2 policy review
By Swati Bhat
MUMBAI, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Indian government bonds pared all losses to end little changed on Thursday, after Bloomberg quoted a central bank adviser as calling for an interest rate cut, while the continued fall in global crude oil prices also aided sentiment.
Bloomberg quoted Arvind Virmani, a member of the central bank’s external advisory committee, as saying “the time for easing monetary policy has arrived” due to easing consumer inflation.
Hopes the Reserve Bank of India will cut interest rates in February, although some analysts see a potential easing on Dec. 2, are fuelling a rally in bond markets. Benchmark 10-year bond yields have fallen 12 basis points this month after dropping 24 bps in October, hitting a more than 15-month low on Tuesday.
“Comments from the central bank adviser led to renewed buying interest in bonds today,” said Harish Agarwal, a fixed income trader with First Rand Bank.
Agarwal added markets would continue to monitor oil prices in the immediate future for direction.
The benchmark 10-year bond yield closed steady at its Wednesday’s close of 8.16 percent. On Tuesday, it had touched 8.14 percent intraday, its lowest since Aug. 8, 2013.
Foreign investors have been strong buyers of debt this year, with total inflows touching $23.73 billion. However, they sold a net $14.99 million on Wednesday, their first sale since Oct. 16.
Brent crude oil fell below $78 a barrel on Thursday, as the demand outlook was hit by weak economic reports in China and Europe.
In the overnight indexed swaps, the benchmark five-year swap rate closed 5 bps lower at 7.35 percent and the one-year rate ended down 6 bps at 7.95 percent. (Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)