Caution over macro data to exert pressure on rupee

Mumbai, April 9 (IANS) Caution over the upcoming global and domestic macro-economic data, along with diminishing foreign funds inflow, are likely to exert pressure on the Indian rupee during the coming week.

“A resurgence in global risk appetite is likely to test the rupee’s resilience over the coming week,” Bansi Madhavani, analyst, India Ratings and Research, told IANS.

“Rupee is likely to exhibit marginal weakness after losing 0.3 percent over the last week.”

According to Madhavani, the rupee will be guided by global macro-economic data, such as the March inflation figures from China, European countries and the US.

“Focus will be on global developments. Major developed economies will release their inflation data for March,” Madhavani informed.

“Domestically, flows’ position continues to remain precarious- especially on the debt segment.”

Besides, the domestic macro data will start from April 12, with the release of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and retail inflation (Consumer Price Index) figures.

These data points will be followed by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) on April 18.

Further, Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) attempts to infuse liquidity will prevent rupee appreciation, elaborated Anindya Banerjee, associate vice president for currency derivatives with Kotak Securities.

“RBI continues to use dollar buying in spot as a tool to infuse rupee liquidity. They clearly stated that (dollar buying) is one of the tools, along with purchase of rupee bonds, to shore up rupee liquidity,” Banerjee said.

“Both are ways to prevent rupee from appreciating too much against the US dollar.”

In addition, Banerjee pointed out that the FIIs’ (foreign institutional investors) investments might get reduced in the coming week, as they have exhausted almost all of their available limits to buy government bonds.

“FIIs have exhausted almost all of the available limits in GoI secs (government of India’s securities), so their inflows may wane,” Banerjee explained.

“FII buying in stocks may slow down as valuations are getting stretched considering weak fundamental picture.”

On a technical basis, the dollar/rupee pair is expected to be in a range of 66-67.50 for the next couple of weeks.

During the truncated week ended April 7, the rupee weakened by 22 paise. The domestic currency markets were closed on April 8, on account of Gudi Padwa.

On a weekly basis, the rupee weakened by 22 paise to 66.46-47 (April 7) against a US dollar from its previous close of 66.24-25 (March 31) to a greenback.

Analysts attributed the rupee’s weakness on the outflow of foreign funds from the equity and debt markets.

For the week under review, data with stock exchanges revealed that FPIs (Foreign Portfolio Investors) divested stocks worth Rs.877.26 crore.

However, figures from the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) showed that the FPIs invested Rs.7,624.87 crore or $1,150.09 million in the equity and debt markets from April 4-7.

“Post RBI policy, rupee has seen depreciation as sell-off in equity markets and dollar buying from central bank supported prices,” Banerjee added.

“However, hedging from exporters going into a long weekend ensured that rupee does not depreciate too much.”

Earlier, equity markets discounted a 25 basis points cut in key lending rates by the RBI on Tuesday. The rate cut was announced during RBI’s first bi-monthly monetary policy review for 2016-17.

Analysts stated that investors expected a larger rate cut, as they had already factored in a 25 basis points reduction in key lending rates.

(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at rohit.v@ians.in)

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