Bloomberg News

Mauritius Rupee Drops to 6-Month Low Before Europe Debt Meeting

October 03, 2011

Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Mauritius’s rupee depreciated to the weakest level in more than six months against the dollar before European officials met to gauge the risk of a Greek default. Stocks declined.

The Indian Ocean island nation’s currency retreated as much as 1.5 percent to 29.35 per dollar, its lowest intraday level since March 18, and traded 1.1 percent down to 29.25 by 12:18 p.m. in Port Louis, the capital. Against the euro, the rupee depreciated 0.5 percent to 39.1043.

Finance ministers from the eurozone meet today in Luxembourg to consider how to shield banks from the debt crisis and boosting the region’s rescue fund. Greece pledged to fire workers as part of a 6.6 billion-euro ($8.8 billion) package to help secure a rescue-loan payout.

“The outcome of the finance chiefs’ meeting would be a very important factor regarding the future state of the euro zone and its impact on its trading partners such as Mauritius,” Imrith Ramtohul, a senior investment manager at Port Louis-based Mauritius Union Group, said by phone. “A weaker euro would probably imply fewer European visitors to the country and trim earnings for our euro-centered exports.”

Europe is the Indian Ocean island nation’s main trading partner, with tourist arrivals from the continent comprising 62 percent of the total for the eight months through August, led by France, data from the Tourism Promotion Authority show.

The 38-member SEMDEX stock index fell 0.5 percent to 1,890.71. State Bank of Mauritius Ltd., the country’s second- largest lender by market value, and New Mauritius Hotels Ltd., the largest leisure operator, led declines.

Buying prices for the dollar ranged from 28.2491 rupees to 28.4159 and the selling price rose to 29.7468 compared with 29.5889 on Sept. 30, according to exchange rates published today on the Bank of Mauritius website.

--Editors: Ana Monteiro, Peter Branton

To contact the reporter on this story: Kamlesh Bhuckory in Port Louis via Johannesburg at gbell16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net


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