The US dollar weakened as the US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s dovish remarks on rate hikes coupled with strong jobs data alleviated traders’ demand for safe havens.
In late New York trading on Friday, the euro was up to $1.1398 from $1.1391 in the previous session, and the British pound rose to $1.2740 from $1.2629 in the previous session, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Australian dollar rose to $0.7116 from $0.7002.
The US dollar bought 108.52 Japanese yen, higher than 107.75 Japanese yen of the previous session. The US dollar fell to 0.9864 Swiss franc from 0.9885 Swiss franc, and it was down to 1.3394 Canadian dollars from 1.3480 Canadian dollars.
Powell said the central bank would remain patient in hiking benchmark overnight lending rates. He stressed Fed’s future move will depend on “how the economy evolves”.
Meanwhile, the upbeat jobs data also helped ease fears that the US economy is at risk of slipping into a recession over the next two years.
In a choppy week’s trade, the Indian currency weakened against the US dollar to close above the 71 a dollar mark on Friday, owing to a sharp rise in crude oil prices, turmoil in the equity markets and uncertainty around the US-China trade relations.
In what could translate into further trouble for the domestic currency, analysts see an upward move of 6 to 7 per cent in the Brent crude prices in the coming week.
The rupee lost heavily towards the end of the week – over 70 paise in the last three trading session – as traders reacted to the sanction on Venezuela and production cut by OPEC and Saudi Arabia.
Sajal Gupta, Head Fx & Rates Edelweiss, said “technically … crude now looks set for another 6-7 per cent rise” which would mean that the rupee was likely to depreciate further in the coming sessions. “And if Rs 71.80 per dollar is broken, we can head towards Rs 72.50 mark.”
Among other factors impacting the currency, Gupta said, with crude and dollar index giving breakout, rupee would remain under pressure. Trade deficit data released on Friday post market was also not very encouraging with monthly deficit touching almost 15 billion dollars.
“Political tensions would also remain heightened with key leaders vowing strong retaliation in wake of the biggest terror attack in the Kashmir valley.”
Explaining the factors which has caused volatility, Anindya Banerjee of Kotak said the currency markets largely depend on the capital flows … and right now the fear of a possible retaliation by the government in response to the Pulwama attack is having an affect.
“The context of the whole event is also important because (Lok Sabha) elections are around the corner,” Banerjee said.
Also, the currency losing against the dollar and rising crude oil prices was a double whammy for the bond markets, he added.
On the global front, discussing the factors affecting the currency, Banerjee said, the Chinese economy was very fragile right now and moreover investors were looking for developments in the US-China trade talks.
However, Gurang Somaiya, currency analyst, Motilal Oswal, felt that the rupee was protected from any major weakness as “Foreign Institutional Investment (FII’s) came around good”, especially in February.
According to data from the bourses, FII has seen inflows worth Rs 1,096 crore in February.
India on Friday revoked the Most Favoured Nation Status (MNS) of Pakistan and has warned that more stern actions will follow the attack in Pulwama. Additionally, equity markets have declined for 6 straight sessions showing weak investor sentiments. (IANS)