RBI steps in to halt rupee’s free fall

The rupee was trading at 77.63/64 per dollar by 0805GMT compared with its close of 77.45 on Friday. The rupee touched a record low of 77.7975 during the session



Traders said the RBI started selling dollars via state-run banks around 77.75 rupee levels helping the currency regain some ground. — File photo
Traders said the RBI started selling dollars via state-run banks around 77.75 rupee levels helping the currency regain some ground. — File photo
by

Issac John

Published: Tue 17 May 2022, 6:20 PM

After plumbing new depths of 21.15 against the dirham or 77.63/64 per dollar on Tuesday, the Indian rupee gradually recovered in the wake of an intervention by the Reserve Bank of India as bond yields edged higher tracking the uptick in global crude oil prices.

The rupee was trading at 77.63/64 per dollar by 0805GMT compared with its close of 77.45 on Friday. The rupee touched a record low of 77.7975 during the session.

“The partially convertible rupee continued its slide this week, as it tested 77.7850 against the dollar today or 21.15 against the dirham. It is expected though to recover and rest anywhere between 77.50 and 77.64 by end of the day,” a spokesman of Lulu Exchange said.

“This slide that we have been witnessing is along expected lines. Remittance volumes though are holding steady, probably because people expect a further weakening of the rupee,” he said.

The volume of inquiries for remittance advice is on the high, and this wait and watch game means people are holding back and observing global trends to determine the right time. “That being said, we feel that the rupee might test 78 against the dollar within a few days. On the higher side, we expect it to touch 78.20-78.30.”

Traders said the RBI started selling dollars via state-run banks around 77.75 rupee levels helping the currency regain some ground.

"Given that the RBI has ample FX reserves, we expect the rupee to remain more stable and weaken less than most other EM currencies against the greenback over the next couple of years," Adam Hoyes, assistant economist at Capital Economics, said in a note.

Sajith Kumar PK, CEO & MD IBMC Financial Professionals Group, said the rupee is under long-term pressure due to the serious concerns voiced by international financial institutions including the IMF on record global debt levels. The IMF also slashed the global growth forecast recently from 4.4 per cent to 3.6 per cent in 2022.

“India is in a challenging situation due to increasing central and state-wise debts. Heavy sell-off from foreign institutional investors (FIIs), rising inflation due to crude oil price increase, global political uncertainty triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war, Sri Lankan crisis, and rising pandemic threats in China have put the Indian currency under heavy pressure,” he said.

“Considering domestic and international pressures, the rupee is likely heading to 78 and 79 against the dollar,” said Kumar.

Currency market analysts said the RBI has been active in both spot and futures markets in recent weeks to help limit sharp volatility in the rupee.

"The rupee fell to a fresh all-time low as broader strength in the dollar continued and also as global crude oil prices continued to trade higher," said Gaurang Somaiya, forex analyst at Motital Oswal Financial Services.

"We expect the momentum for the USDINR to remain positive and quote in the range of 77.40 and 78.20."

Analysts said the recent uptick in global and domestic inflation had added to bearishness on the currency while also pushing up bond yields.

Economists believe the high inflation print may force the RBI's hand into raising rates yet again in its June policy review after having unexpectedly raised it by 40 basis points in an out-of-turn meeting earlier this month.

— issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com


More news from Markets