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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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PNB says no “cash shortage” in its ATMs

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sought to allay fears amidst reports of a cash crunch and empty ATMs in the country

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PNB: No cash shortage in ATMs. Wikimedia Commons

State-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) on Wednesday said there is no “cash shortage in its ATMs across the country.

“Overall, Punjab National Bank has not faced any cash shortage in its ATMs across the country and continue to function as usual,” the state-run lender said in a statement. “Out of 9,679 PNB ATMs, there is a 90 per cent availability of ATMs which is normal.”

PNB denies claims of cash shortage.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sought to allay fears amidst reports of a cash crunch and empty ATMs in the country by stating that “there is more than adequate currency in circulation”, even as the government blamed “unusual demand” for shortages in some areas.

Also Read: PNB scam: Additional Rs 1,300 cr fraud revealed

Besides, the central government announced that it has decided to increase printing of Rs 500 notes by five times. In addition, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said that it is “taking steps to move currency to areas” which have witnessed unusually large cash withdrawals.

“The shortage may be felt in some pockets largely due to logistical issues of replenishing ATMs frequently and the recalibration of ATMs being still underway. RBI is closely monitoring both these aspects,” the RBI had said in a statement on Tuesday. “Further, as a matter of abundant precaution, RBI is also taking steps to move currency to areas which are witnessing unusually large cash withdrawals.” IANS

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