Rupee at 3-month high

MUMBAI - India’s rupee rose to the highest level in almost three months as a drop in crude oil prices reduced demand for dollars from refiners.

By (Bloomberg)

Published: Thu 7 Aug 2008, 11:59 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:50 AM

The rupee was the second-best performer among the 10 most- traded currencies in Asia outside Japan as oil traded near the lowest level in three months in New York. The local currency also advanced on speculation gains in local stocks will encourage overseas investors to increase their holdings of the nation’s assets.

“It’s a big relief for refiners as they weren’t expecting oil prices to slide this way in less than a month from their peak,” said Ravindra Babu, a currency trader at state-owned Andhra Bank in Mumbai. “Investors are now pricing further gains in the rupee on expectations that oil will fall more.” The rupee rose 0.4 per cent to 42.0725 per dollar at the 5 p.m. close in Mumbai, the highest since May 12, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It earlier advanced past 42 for the first time in two weeks to touch 41.94. The currency may reach 41.80 in the coming days, Babu said.

Crude oil has fallen about 19 per cent from its all-time high of $147.27 a barrel reached July 11 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell to $118 yesterday, the least since May 5.

India, which depends on imports to meet about 70 per cent of its annual energy needs, paid an average $8 billion a month this year for oil from abroad, compared with $5.5 billion in 2007, government data show.

The rupee strengthened for a second day after the benchmark Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensitive Index, or Sensex, advanced to the highest since June 19.

“Flows should increase in the region as the overall investment sentiment is changing for the better,” Babu said. “Improved dollar supplies should support the rupee.” Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recommended investors buy the rupee and sell a basket of currencies like the dollar, the yen, the euro and the Australian dollar, due to the decline in oil prices.

“The negative effect of higher oil prices was priced into the currency in the first half of the year and oil prices have now dropped significantly,” wrote New York-based Goldman strategist Jens Nordvig in a research note.

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