New India central bank chief may face short honeymoon

NEW DELHI, September 8, 2013 (AFP) – The euphoria which greeted new central bank governor Raghuram Rajan has been unprecedented in India’s normally sober financial world but the honeymoon may be shortlived. In fact, Rajan’s comments suggest he is likely to be “more hawkish”, said CLSA economist Rajeev Malik said.

The former top finance ministry advisor and professor at the prestigious University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business has sought to temper expectations of what he can do, saying he has “no magic wand”.

“Any entrant to the central bank governorship probably starts at the height of their popularity. Some of the actions I take will not be popular,” he declared in his inaugural speech.

“The governorship of the central bank is not meant to win one votes or Facebook ‘likes’.” Analysts say it is a mistake to believe the suave star economist, whose first day on the job last week one financial daily likened to the “central banking equivalent of a blockbuster movie opening,” is a miracle man who can rescue India’s ailing economy.

“There was tremendous elation among market participants over Rajan’s appointment,” Ajay Bodke, strategy head at Mumbai investment house Prabhudas Lilladher,