Reverse Repo Rate: Meaning and How It Works, and Calculation

Unlock the secrets of the reverse repo rate! Discover the meaning, workings, calculation, and historical and current rates in India.
Reverse Repo Rate
4 mins
06 December 2023

The term "reverse repo rate" often finds its way into economic discussions and financial news, yet many people remain unfamiliar with its significance and the role it plays in the world of financial and monetary policies. In this article, we will understand the reverse repo rate, its meaning, purpose, and the impact it has on the select Mutual funds and on the economy.

What is Reverse Repo Rate?

To comprehend the reverse repo rate, we must first understand the repo rate. The repo rate is the interest rate at which central banks, such as the Reserve Bank of India, lend money to commercial banks in exchange for government securities. It is an essential tool for regulating the flow of money in the financial system and influencing interest rates in the broader economy.

Now, let's flip the coin and understand the reverse repo rate. The reverse repo rate is the interest rate at which central banks borrow money from commercial banks by temporarily transferring securities to them. In essence, it's the opposite of the repo rate. While the repo rate is the cost of borrowing for commercial banks, the reverse repo rate represents the return on investment for banks' lending money to the central bank.

How does reverse repo work?

To illustrate how the reverse repo rate works, let us consider a hypothetical scenario involving the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and commercial banks.

  • RBI's Need for Funds: Suppose the RBI wants to reduce the excess money supply in the banking system to control inflation. To achieve this, it decides to borrow funds from commercial banks.
  • Setting the Rate: The RBI announces a specific reverse repo rate, say 5%. This rate represents the interest that commercial banks will earn on their temporary deposits with the RBI.
  • Commercial Bank Participation: Commercial banks looking for a secure place to park their excess funds can choose to deposit money with the RBI at the announced reverse repo rate.
  • Securities Exchange: In return for their funds, the RBI provides the commercial banks with government securities as collateral. These securities serve as a guarantee for the repayment of the borrowed funds.
  • Interest Earnings: Commercial banks earn interest on their deposits with the RBI at the specified reverse repo rate. This interest acts as an incentive for banks to participate in these transactions.
  • Impact on the Money Market: As commercial banks divert funds to the RBI through reverse repo transactions, the overall money supply in the market decreases. This reduction can lead to an increase in short-term interest rates in the broader financial market.

Current Repo Rate in India

The current repo rate in India is 6.50%* fixed by RBI, on 8th February 2023.

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The significance of reverse repo rate on Mutual Funds

1. Debt Mutual Funds:

  • Interest Rate SensitivityDebt mutual funds primarily invest in fixed-income securities like bonds and debentures. These funds are particularly sensitive to changes in interest rates, including those influenced by the reverse repo rate.
  • Inverse Relationship: Debt funds generally have an inverse relationship with interest rates. When the reverse repo rate rises, yields on new debt instruments tend to increase, causing the prices of existing bonds in the fund's portfolio to fall. This can lead to capital losses for investors.
  • Lower Returns: As the reverse repo rate goes up, debt funds may experience lower returns, making them less attractive to investors seeking stable income.

2. Liquid Mutual Funds:

  • Impact on YieldsLiquid funds invest in very short-term debt instruments, and their returns are closely tied to prevailing interest rates. An increase in the reverse repo rate can lead to higher yields for liquid funds, potentially making them more appealing for short-term investors.
  • Safety and Liquidity: Liquid funds are known for their safety and liquidity, making them a preferred choice for parking surplus funds. Investors may choose these funds when the reverse repo rate is raised, as it can enhance the yield on their investments without taking on significant risk.

3. Equity Mutual Funds:

  • Indirect Influence: Unlike debt funds, equity mutual funds primarily invest in stocks and are not directly impacted by changes in the reverse repo rate.
  • Secondary Effects: However, equity funds can be indirectly affected. If the central bank adjusts the reverse repo rate to control inflation or stimulate economic growth, it can have a broader impact on the economy. This, in turn, can influence corporate earnings, stock market performance, and ultimately the returns of equity mutual funds.
  • Investor Sentiment: Changes in interest rates and economic conditions can also influence investor sentiment, which can impact the demand for equity mutual funds. In times of economic uncertainty, investors may shift their assets from debt funds to equity funds seeking potentially higher returns.

The impact of the reverse repo rate on mutual funds varies depending on the type of fund and its underlying investments. Debt and liquid funds are directly affected by changes in interest rates, while equity funds are influenced indirectly through broader economic factors. Investors should consider their investment objectives and risk tolerance when deciding how changes in the reverse repo rate might affect their mutual fund investments. Additionally, staying informed about central bank policies and economic trends can help investors make informed decisions in a dynamic financial environment.

Impact of Reverse Repo Rate on the Economy

Impact on Financial Markets and the Economy
The reverse repo rate has a ripple effect throughout the financial markets and the broader economy:

  1. Interest Rate
    Changes in the reverse repo rate can lead to shifts in short-term interest rates, affecting the cost of borrowing for banks and, subsequently, for consumers and businesses. Higher reverse repo rates can tighten credit conditions, while lower rates can stimulate borrowing and spendin
  2. Bond Markets
    The reverse repo rate influences the yields on government securities. When the central bank borrows money from commercial banks at a higher rate, it can lead to higher yields on government bonds, making them more attractive to investors.
  3. Economic Activity
    The reverse repo rate can impact economic activity by affecting borrowing costs. Higher rates can discourage borrowing and investment, potentially slowing down economic growth. Conversely, lower rates can encourage borrowing and spending, supporting economic expansion.

Difference between reverse repo rate and repo rate


Repo Rate

Reverse Repo Rate





RBI lends money to banks

RBI borrows money from banks

Influence on Liquidity

 Increases liquidity

Reduces liquidity

Rate Cut Implication

Encourages banks to borrow from RBI

Encourages banks to deposit with RBI


Reverse repo rate plays a pivotal role in liquidity management, policy implementation, and the control of short-term interest rates. As central banks like the Reserve Bank of India continue to navigate the ever-changing economic landscape, the reverse repo rate becomes an instrument for achieving their monetary policy objectives and ensuring the stability of financial markets and the broader economy.

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Frequently asked questions 

Who decides the value of the Reverse repo rate?

The value of the Reverse Repo Rate is determined by the central bank of the country, which in India's case is the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

What is the current Reverse Repo Rate in India?

The current repo rate in India is 6.50%*, on 8th February 2023.

What is the difference between the repo rate and reverse repo rate?

The repo rate is the rate at which the RBI lends money to commercial banks, while the reverse repo rate is the rate at which commercial banks can park their surplus funds with RBI.

What is an example of a reverse repo?

A reverse repo can occur when there's a need to connect a party with surplus cash to another party with securities available for lending. For instance, a money market fund often accumulates substantial cash from customer deposits. In such cases, the money market fund might engage in a reverse repo, where it acquires securities from a bank or hedge fund in need of temporary cash. This strategy enables the money market fund to generate returns on its cash as it subsequently repurchases the securities at a higher price.

Why is reverse repo rate important?

The RBI employs the reverse repo rate to regulate the money supply within the system by influencing various factors:

  • Banks are inclined to deposit funds with the RBI due to its safety and attractive interest rates, leading to decreased liquidity in the system.
  • To curb inflation, the RBI raises the reverse repo rate, encouraging banks to prioritise parking money with the RBI over lending, thereby reducing the overall money supply and controlling inflation.
  • A higher reverse repo rate may contribute to the strengthening of the rupee by further limiting the money supply in the economy.
What is affected by a Change in Repo Rate?

A change in the repo rate affects the overall cost of borrowing in the economy. When the repo rate is increased, borrowing becomes more expensive, leading to reduced spending and investment. Conversely, a decrease in the repo rate makes borrowing cheaper, stimulating economic activity.

Who decides the repo rate?

The repo rate is described by Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India

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