In a move that caught its competitors off guard, HDFC Bank, India’s second-largest private lender, has reduced its base rate, the benchmark to which all other lending rates are linked, by a steep 35 basis points to 9.35 per cent. The new rate is much lower than those of its competitors. ICICI Bank and State Bank of India (SBI) have a base rate of 9.7 per cent. A senior SBI official said the bank’s asset liability committee would soon meet to decide on whether the interest rate should be revised. “We will look for the monetary policy action in September-end and will also watch the consumer price inflation numbers before taking a call,” the official added.