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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)

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RBI Working With Regulators For Better Security Lending Products, Says DG

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is currently working with other financial sector regulators like Sebi, PFRDA and Irda to develop an interest rate market

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RBI, security, finance, market
This is broken as Rs 1,23,414 crore as surplus for year 2018-19 and another Rs 52,637 crore of excess provisions identified by the committee as per the revised Economic Capital Framework. Pixabay

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is currently working with other financial sector regulators like Sebi, PFRDA and Irda to develop an interest rate market where mutual funds, pension and insurance funds could participate in securities lending to deepen market based finance and develop an alternate to bank finance.

“IRDA, SEBI and PFRDA too could help development of interest rate markets. For instance, short selling activity could benefit if a wider pool of securities lenders can be developed.

“Insurance and pension funds, mutual funds have significant holdings of Government securities that could be used to lent to short sellers. This would avoid short-squeeze incident we saw a couple of years back, apart from generating income for these entities.

“We are working with regulators to develop a securities lending product that could enable these entities to participate in securities lending,” B.P. Kanungo, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India recently said at FIMMDA meeting in Moscow.

RBI, finance, security, market
Reserve Bank of India’s regional office at South Gandhi Maidan Marg, Patna. Wikimedia Commons

FIMMDA is a representative body of participants in the fixed income market in India.

He said the Indian financial sector which mostly has been a bank-based one needs to develop a robust fixed income market to bring in market discipline, to augment bank finance and indeed free up bank finance for uses that cannot access the market directly.

Development of the fixed income market has been an important objective of the Reserve Bank, the Government, the SEBI and other regulators these many years. Significant progress has been made, yet a lot remains to be achieved.

The Banking regulator is also currently looking at refurbishing some regulations on treatment of cash margins as deposits, payment of interest on such margins, posting of collateral abroad to enable participants to move to global margining standards.

“The risk management at market level is pretty robust, with central counterparty settlement, exchange traded products, trade repositories, legal entity identifier.

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But there is scope of improvement at entity-level as far as financial institutions are concerned, which will be tested with introduction of new accounting standards. Some other aspects of regulation – treatment of cash margins as deposits, payment of interest on such margins, posting of collateral abroad – are all under examination to enable participants to move to global margining standards.

Kanungo further said in the next five years the demand for bonds will significantly outstrip the supply.

“It is estimated that five years down the line, the demand for bonds will significantly outstrip the supply,” he said. (IANS)