The Rupee closed at a three-month high of 64.05 against the dollar as the market rode on the euphoria generated by the exit polls, which indicated a clear BJP-win in Gujarat. The state elections have been in focus as there were some apprehensions about the ruling party’s ability to get a strong mandate. The currency saw the highest single day gain in almost three weeks as it closed 30 paise higher against the dollar compared to Thursday’s closing. During the day, it scaled to a high of 64.01 before settling down at 64.05 in the evening.
On Thursday, exit polls predicted a BJP win in the Assembly elections in both Gujarat as well as Himachal Pradesh. According to most of the polls, the BJP is likely to win more than 100 seats in Gujarat which has a total of 182 seats where as the saffron party is likely to clinch at least 45 seats in Himachal Pradesh that has 68 seats. If this comes true, it will further strengthen the position of the BJP and give a strong signal on the continuation of all existing policies.
Another factor that is likely to have supported the Rupee’s move is the weakness in dollar on uncertainty over US tax reforms getting pushed through. The Rupee has been one of the top performing currencies among emerging market nations this year, having recorded a year-to-date (YTD) return of 6.05%, according to Bloomberg data.
Compared to this, the Chinese Renminbi has given a YTD return of 5.09%, the Russian Rouble has given a return of 4.52%, and the South African Rand has returned 3.05%. The Brazilian Real and the Indonesian Rupiah lost value, returning -2.01% and -0.715%, respectively, over the period, according to Bloomberg.
Only the Malaysian Ringgit has given a higher return than the Rupee, of 9.96%. Meanwhile, India’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $1.044 billion on December 8 to $400.897 billion, data from the RBI shows. Foreign currency assets, which form a key component of reserves, fell by $1.208 billion from the previous week to $376.428 billion.
FCAs are maintained in major currencies like US dollar, euro, pound sterling and Japanese yen. Movement in the FCA occur mainly on account of purchase and sale of foreign exchange by the RBI, income arising out of the deployment of foreign exchange reserves, external aid receipts of the government and revaluation of assets.
Gold reserves remained stable at $20.70 billion. Special drawing rights (SDR) from the International Monetary Fund fell by $5.3 million from the previous week to $1.497 billion. SDR is an international reserve asset created by the IMF and allocated to its members in proportion of their quota at the IMF. The Reserve Position in the IMF fell by $11 million to $2.269 billion.