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India’s Forex reserves rise to $353 billion: RBI

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Mumbai: A strengthening rupee, buoyant equity markets coupled with a fall in dollar value boosted India’s Forex reserves by $2.26 billion, experts said on Saturday.

Overall, the Forex reserves stood at $353.06 billion for the week ended October 9.

“The increase in Forex reserves can be attributed to an appreciation in rupee value and the weakening of US dollar against the major global currencies like Euro, Pound and Yen,” Anindya Banerjee, associate vice president for currency derivatives with Kotak Securities, told IANS.

“It is perceived that the appreciation in rupee value allowed the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to buy more dollars and keep rupee in a comfortable range,” Banerjee said.

The rupee had closed at 64.74 to a US dollar during the week ended October 9. The rupee gained 77 paise on a weekly basis from its previous close at 65.51 to a US dollar in the week ended October 2.

Previously, a rise in the value of gold reserves had added $827.4 million to India’s Forex kitty which swelled to $350.80 billion for the week ended October 2. The reserves had declined by $2.04 billion to $349.97 billion in the week ended September 25.

Furthermore, the data furnished by the RBI in its weekly statistical supplement showed that the foreign currency assets (FCAs) had gained by $2.22 billion to $329.51 billion in the week under review.

The FCA constitutes the largest component of India’s Forex reserves. It consists of US dollars, major non-dollar currencies, securities and bonds bought abroad.

“The dollar in the week under review, had depreciated by close to 1 percent against major global currencies. This added around $1 billion to the FCA,” Banerjee said.

The Indian reserves consist of nearly 20-25 percent of non-dollar currencies. The individual movements of these currencies against the dollar impacts the overall reserve value.

Besides, currency movements, increased inflows into the equity markets supported the Forex’s upwards trajectory.

During the week ended October 9, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (S&P Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), rose 858.56 points or 3.17 percent to 27,079.51 points.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) too made gains during the weekly trade ended October 9. It rose 238.8 points or three percent to 8,189.70 points.

“Rising equity markets, increased inflow of foreign funds and appreciating rupee have had a positive impact on the reserves,” Hiren Sharma, senior vice president, currency advisory at Anand Rathi Financial Services, told IANS.

“RBI may have entered into the markets to stabilise the rupee. RBI is seen not to be comfortable with the rupee appreciation.”

During the week under review, the country’s gold reserves remained stagnant at $18.15 billion. The country’s gold reserves had risen by $116.5 million to $18.15 billion during the week ended October 2.

The special drawing rights (SDRs) in the week under review were higher by $30.4 million at $4.07 billion.

The country’s reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) edged up by $10.5 million to $1.32 billion.

(IANS)

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RBI May Recoup Reserves, Strong Inflow of Foreign Funds And Benign Oil Prices Strengthening Indian Currency

A major factor supporting the rupee is the strong prospect of better fund flows from abroad.

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Experts now see a chance for the RBI to recoup the reserves it spent in 2018 defending the rupee. Pixabay

A strong inflow of foreign funds and benign oil prices have strengthened the Indian currency but what has worked best for the rupee is the fading impact of war hysteria. Experts now see a chance for the RBI to recoup the reserves it spent in 2018 defending the rupee.

Putting a number to this, Gurang Somaiya, currency analyst at Motilal Oswal, said: “It is possible that RBI may limit some of the appreciation and recoup some of its lost reserves… but it may only come if the rupee strengthens to around Rs 68.20 a dollar.”

Explaining the factors at play, Anindya Banerjee, Deputy Vice President for Currency and Interest Rates with Kotak Securities, said: “Post-Abhinandan (shooting down of the IAF pilot), geopolitical risk has subsided which has boosted investor sentiments.”

oil prices
The decline in crude oil, which accounts for a large import bill for India, directly affects the exchange rates.
Pixabay

Banerjee added that the gains of the rupee will help the Reserve Bank of India recoup reserves which it lost last year in a bid to arrest its fall.

“The rupee appreciated and closed at 70.14 for the last week on the back of strong flows and fading impact of war hysteria,” said Sajal Gupta, Head Forex and Rates, Edelweiss Securities.

In addition, Gupta said that some “big flows are lined up next week. Maybe Arcelor Mittal money can hit the Indian markets which can lead to some more appreciation towards 69.50 unless the RBI intervenes”.

However, the rising dollar index is causing nervousness and any breakout may lead to a reversal in the rupee’s trend, said Gupta. Somaiya said that RBI may choose not to intervene as the central bank’s prime aim was to arrest volatility.

“Yes the rupee is inching below the 70-a-dollar mark but then the (general) election can cause massive volatility. Also, it is seen that a lot of central banks are getting into a dovish stance owing to the fears of global slowdown.”

The RBI had to stop the slump in the rupee late last year after it touched an all-time high of 74.47 on October 11 following the rising crude oil prices.

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However, the rising dollar index is causing nervousness and any breakout may lead to a reversal in the rupee’s trend, said Gupta. Somaiya said that RBI may choose not to intervene as the central bank’s prime aim was to arrest volatility. Pixabay

The Brent Crude touched $86-a-barrel mark in early October but started to ease following the US decision to exempt 8 countries, including India and China, to continue buying oil for six months from Iran despite sanctions.

The decline in crude oil, which accounts for a large import bill for India, directly affects the exchange rates.

A major factor supporting the rupee is the strong prospect of better fund flows from abroad.

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“Inflows into India have clearly turned positive since the end of January. The flows in February at Rs 17,720 crore is the highest since November 2017. The trigger for this inflows is the dovish statement that came from the Fed at the end of January,” said V.K. Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.

India’s foreign exchange reserves stood at $401.78 billion as against $393.13 billion in November last year. As the data suggests, with improving macros, the forex is already on the recovery path. (IANS)