Risk of US hiking rates drowns rupee


Mumbai: The Indian rupee plunged to a new two-year low of Rs.65.69 to a dollar during intra-day trade on the foreign exchange markets on Thursday following apprehensions of a US interest rate hike and the continuing slide in the Chinese markets.

The rupee, however, later gained strength and closed the day’s trade at Rs.65.56 to a dollar.

Thursday’s intra-day fall mirrors the currency’s movements on Wednesday — when it had hit a fresh two-year low at Rs.65.44 to a US dollar.
According to analysts, the rupee was impacted by the possibility of US raising its interest rate after a decade of easy financing.

The intent was made clear by the minutes of the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meet which was held on July 28-29.

Higher interest rates in the US are expected to lead the FPIs (Foreign Portfolio Investors) away from emerging markets such as India.

The other major catalyst for the rupee’s fall has been the devaluation of yuan, intended to boost Chinese exports and arrest the fall in the Chinese markets by pumping up the economy.

“Today, the Chinese markets continued their downward movement despite various measures taken by the government there. This shows that the problem is deep rooted and the impact might be much greater,” Anand James, co-head, technical research, Geojit BNP Paribas, told IANS.

Though unrelated, the stock market crash can prompt China’s central bank to further devalue yuan to propel the domestic economy.

The People’s Bank of China had devalued yuan by two percent on August 11. This was the biggest devaluation in the Chinese currency since 1994.

The currency fell again dropped by two percent on August 12 panicking the world economy.

The attempt is viewed as a tack-tick to corner the international export markets from other emerging trading powers such as India and the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) grouping.

The move has strengthened the dollar value, which has negatively impacted major world currencies including the Indian rupee.

The yuan has fallen by 4.6 percent till now since August 11.