Rupee zeroes in on 11-month high; fails to party long

Written by Agencies | Mumbai | Updated: May 17 2014, 10:10am hrs
The rupee strengthened to its highest level in 11 months on Friday and posted its best-weekly gain in eight months as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies continued their march towards an overwhelming majority in the Lok Sabha election, sending shares to record highs.

The rupee, however, failed to retain most gains made during the session due to profit-taking and sporadic dollar-buying intervention by the central bank.

The partially convertible rupee closed at 58.79/80 a dollar after hitting 58.62, its strongest performance since June 19 and 0.85% above its previous close of 59.29/30.

For the week, the rupee rose 2.1%, its third consecutive weekly gain and also biggest weekly rise since the week to September 13.

Traders expect the rupee to hold in a 58.50 to 59.50 per dollar range for the next week.

In the offshore non-deliverable forward, the one-month contract was at 59.09, while the three-month was at 59.73.

The value of Indian equities has climbed by more than $330 billion since September 13. Analysts speculate Modi to do more than the outgoing Congress government to revive economic growth. Some investors even sold shares on Friday to lock-in their gains. The markets have largely discounted quite a lot of the positive news, Sam Mahtani, a director of emerging markets at F&C Asset Management, which oversees about $150 billion, told Bloomberg in a telephone interview from London. There has to be little bit of consolidation and profit taking.

Proponents see Modi, who has overseen annual economic growth of 10% as the head of Gujarat since 2001, as a leader who can speed up infrastructure projects.

Public works projects helped Gujarat outpace the national economic growth rate in 11 of the past 12 financial years for which data is available. The BJP has pledged to construct 100 new cities, build high-speed railway lines and roll out a national fiber-optic network.