Bloomberg News

Indian Rupee Heads for Worst Week in a Month on Current Account

April 05, 2013

The rupee headed for the biggest weekly drop in a month after data showed India’s current-account deficit widened to a record while capital inflows slowed.

The government will act to tackle the shortfall and to spur foreign investment, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said April 3. The gap in the broadest measure of trade was $32.6 billion in the quarter through December, a central bank report showed March 28. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, one of nine partners in Singh’s ruling alliance, withdrew support to the administration last month over its approach to alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka.

“The rupee will depreciate because the current-account deficit story is pretty negative,” said Vivek Rajpal, a Mumbai- based strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc. “Political uncertainty and growth worries mean portfolio inflows are also slowing.”

The rupee lost 1 percent this week, the most since the five days ended March 1, to 54.8225 per dollar as of 9:19 a.m. in Mumbai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It rose 0.1 percent today, after touching 54.8975 yesterday, the lowest level since March 7. Nomura predicts the currency will drop to 59 by the end of 2013.

One-month implied volatility in the rupee, a gauge of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, fell two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, from a week ago to 7.98 percent. The measure jumped 15 basis points today.

Slower Inflows

Global funds boosted holdings of Indian stocks by $1.9 billion in March, exchange data show, after adding more than $4 billion in each of the previous three months.

The economy probably expanded 5 percent in the year ended March 31, which would be the least since 2003, the Central Statistical Office predicted in February.

Three-month onshore rupee forwards traded at 55.88 per dollar, compared with 55.53 at the end of last week, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Offshore non-deliverable contracts were at 55.91 versus 55.53. Forwards are agreements to buy or sell assets at a set price and date. Non-deliverable contracts are settled in dollars.

India’s benchmark bonds due in 2022 were little changed this week and today before the government starts its record 6.29 trillion rupee ($115 billion) borrowing program for the fiscal year that began April 1. The finance ministry will offer 150 billion rupees of notes due 2020, 2026, 2032 and 2042 today, according to a central bank statement.

The yield on the 8.15 percent notes due June 2022 was at 7.96 percent in Mumbai, according to the central bank’s trading system. The rate touched a three-month high of 7.99 percent on April 2.

To contact the reporter on this story: V. Ramakrishnan in Mumbai at rvenkatarama@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Regan at jregan19@bloomberg.net


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