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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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RBI
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.

dollar
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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Here’s Some Light on Monetary Policy Under Transmission Mechanism

Improving the "transmission mechanism" for capital flow is dependent on a variety of factors but significantly dependent on building investor trust

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Transmission Mechanism
What promotes an efficient Transmission Mechanism of capital is not rocket science but essential. The primary factors are high contract enforcement, low bureaucracy and efficient courts of law. Pixabay

BY TAPONEEL MUKHERJEE

The Reserve Bank of India decided to hold repo rates unchanged in its meeting on December 5, 2019. In this context, apart from the outlook on inflation, the crucial area of focus should be the “transmission mechanism” of the rate cuts already delivered in 2019. In common parlance, “transmission mechanism” can be interpreted as the chain effect of rate cuts being passed on to the inter-related and inter-linked sectors in the overall ecosystem, to both lower the cost of credit and increase the availability of credit. Primarily, raise the money supply. The concept of an effective “transmission mechanism” is vital for India, both within the context of monetary policy and in the broader contexts of investments, capital flow and effective policymaking. The transmission of monetary policy, capital flows and

information must be all improved.

Within the context of monetary policy, the transmission mechanism is vital to ensure that the cost of credit is being lowered even as more substantial quantities of credit become available. It is a no brainer, that as resources for purveying credit rises with the banks so does the availability of credit for consumers. From the perspective of resolving some of the impediments that the economy is currently facing, it is critical that the low rates are passed on through a lower cost of credit and more credit availability and that the cost of credit itself is lowered across the term structure of interest rates.

An increase in short-term liquidity at the short end of the interest rate curve will eventually translate into lower longer-term yields for all. While short-dated credit availability is of prime importance, a sustainable drop in credit costs in longer tenures will significantly help in providing impetus to the investment cycle. Basically, as the cost of credit drops for longer borrowing periods, potential investment projects become increasingly attractive, given that the cost of financing the projects declines relative to the potential investment return. This increasing attractiveness of projects relative to the cost of capital will be a prime mover in getting the private investment cycle to get going in full flow.

Transmission Mechanism
The Reserve Bank of India decided to hold repo rates unchanged in its meeting on December 5, 2019. In this context, apart from the outlook on inflation, the crucial area of focus should be the “Transmission Mechanism” of the rate cuts already delivered in 2019. Wikimedia Commons

As mentioned above, the “transmission mechanism” must not be limited to just monetary policy but must focus on the concept of capital flows.

Given the constant talk about how crucial private capital is to finance Indian infrastructure and the need global capital has for returns in a low-yield world, the essential point is that the “transmission mechanism” that allows global capital to flow truly and easily needs to be continuously improved.

Improving the “transmission mechanism” for capital flow is dependent on a variety of factors but significantly dependent on building investor trust through efficient capital flow templates. Mainly, expedited and precise project execution will be vital for India to create an effective transmission mechanism to generate significant capital flow.

In this regard, it is important to note that the efficient capital flow framework is as vital for international capital as it is for domestic capital. In fact, without domestic capital from both households and the private sector finding its way to finance the future businesses and infrastructure, international capital will be harder to come by. Effective transmission mechanisms are required for creating capital flow that can genuinely bridge the investment gap in India.

The answer to what promotes an efficient transmission mechanism of capital is not rocket science but essential. The primary factors are high contract enforcement, low bureaucracy and efficient courts of law. While the importance of these factors is well known, the governments both at the centre and the states must work together to deliver on the efficient transmission mechanisms required for efficient capital flow.

Transmission Mechanism
Within the context of monetary policy, the Transmission Mechanism is vital to ensure that the cost of credit is being lowered even as more substantial quantities of credit become available. Pixabay

Beyond the financial implications and factors around transmission, effective transmission of both monetary policy and capital hinges upon trust that contracts will be honoured as per the law and speedy resolution of issues around contract enforcement will be provided for. For India to push ahead towards generating capital for both an investment and consumption upswing in the economy, and for continuously improving “transmission mechanisms” in the economy, a focus on the right policy in respect of “transmission mechanisms” is the need of the hour.

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Additionally, ensuring that the policies that are implemented can create positive ripple effects in the economy is of equal importance. Transmitting the policy changes as far as possible within the value chain will be the real game-changer.

(The views expressed in this article are personal and that of the author. The author heads Development Tracks, an infrastructure advisory firm) (IANS)