RBI Governor to deliver an unscheduled speech at 10 a.m.

Reserve Bank of India said Governor Shaktikanta Das will make a speech Wednesday, an unscheduled appearance as ferocious new coronavirus wave devastates the country.

The address will be broadcast at 10 a.m. local time, the RBI said on Twitter, without providing further details.

The Covid-19 wave that has slammed India in recent weeks will probably worsen before it starts to taper off sometime later this month, forecasters warn. Pressure from industry groups has begun mounting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to impose lockdowns to stem its spread, a move he has so far resisted to avoid the economic damage suffered last year.

The RBI has augmented fiscal support measures from Modi’s government with loan holidays and cash injections, as well as by cutting interest rates. It has pledged to keep monetary policy loose though its room to act has been constrained by inflation concerns.

Das has been meeting with with bankers and shadow lenders since last month to discuss topics including the current economic situation, potential stress to balance sheets, credit flows and liquidity. CNBC reported Tuesday that bankers have requested relief, including payment moratoriums, citing banking sources.

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