FPIs continue to sell Indian bonds, ` weakens further

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New Delhi | Published: July 3, 2018 3:40:30 AM

India’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $2.25 billion to $407.815 billion as on June 22.

dollar, rupeeThe total investments in bonds is currently just short of billion

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) continue to sell Indian bonds with sales totalling to $1.62 billion in June alone.

The total investments in bonds is currently just short of $80 billion. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has put in place a timetable for increasing the limits; the increase in limits for FY2019 is approximately $16 billion.

Meanwhile, the rupee lost 32 paise on Monday to reach to 68.79 at close against the dollar, the second lowest in nearly five years.

Another 3 paise loss will push the rupee to close at a level below its all time low of 68.82 last seen in August 2013. The currency weakened by Rs 1.73 in June.

Given the rising interest rates in the US with the Federal Reserve hiking the benchmark rates, and also the depreciating rupee, foreign money is moving out of the bond markets. The US Fed has hinted at two more rate hikes this year.

The rupee has depreciated in sync with the weakening of other currencies in the region such as the Chinese yuan which has lost value on the back of concerns over the tariff war between China and the US; the trade war has taken a toll on a host of emerging market currencies.

Between January and now the Indian currency has lost Rs 5.12 or 7.15%, against the dollar.The sales in the stock and bond markets seem to have aggravated the pressure on the rupee, dealers said.
The weakening rupee could prompt foreign investors to offload more bonds market observers said, since otherwise their portfolios would continue to lose value. To be sure, other emerging markets which are vulnerable to rising crude oil prices, have also seen sell-offs in their bond markets.

Over the past month, the US dollar Index—Dollex — has moved from 94.03 to 94.92 levels on Monday. The price of Brent oil was ruling at levels around $78.7 per barrel on Monday.

Other EM currencies have also lost value against the greenback. While the Turkish Lira has lost 17.72%, the Thai Baht has given up 1.74%, and the Chinese Yuan has lost 2.43%. However, the Malaysian ringgit has given a positive return of .181%, since January. India’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $2.25 billion to $407.815 billion as on June 22, data from the RBI shows. Foreign currency assets (FCA), which form a key component of reserves, fell by $2.83 billion from the previous week to $382.499 billion.

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