Liquidity boost: RBI sets higher cut-off at forex swap auction

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Mumbai | Published: April 24, 2019 2:44:54 AM

Increased demand for the auction comes on account of corporates raising money overseas and hedging risks with their respective banks.

dollar, ripee, rbi, forex, reserve bank of indiaUnder the dollar swap measure, banks sell US dollars to the central bank and agree to buy the same amount of dollars at the end of the swap period.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in its second dollar-rupee-buy-sell swap auction, received bids worth $18.65 billion, $2.3 billion higher than the first auction, for $5 billion on offer.

The RBI on Tuesday set the cut-off premium – the threshold for any bank to receive any allotment – at Rs 8.38.

Under the dollar swap measure, banks sell US dollars to the central bank and agree to buy the same amount of dollars at the end of the swap period. Banks would sell dollars at Rs 69.67 – the closing price on Monday – and would buy back the same amount of dollars at Es 78.05 per dollar after factoring in the cut-off premium price after three years.

According to treasurers, the increased demand for the auction comes on account of corporates raising money overseas and hedging their risks with their respective banks. “With corporates increasing their borrowings from overseas markets, banks are using the swap measure to hedge their long-term risks with the RBI,” said Ashutosh Khajuria, V-P, Federal Bank.

However, even after the initial dollar swap auction of $5 billion held in March, the liquidity deficit in the banking system for the week ended April 19 was at a two-month high of Rs 85,000 crore, according to a Care ratings report. “The Reserve Bank of India will look at a combination of liquidity infusion measures like the dollar-swap and open market operations (OMOs) to curb the liquidity deficit,” said Devang Shah, deputy head, Axis Mutual Fund.

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RBI on Tuesday also announced OMOs worth Rs 25,000 crore to be conducted in two auctions in May. Through OMOs, it infused close to Rs 1.3 lakh crore in FY19.

Earlier on March 26, the central bank had bought $5 billion through similar swap auction in a bid to ease liquidity. “In order to meet the durable liquidity needs of the system, the RBI has decided to inject rupee liquidity for longer duration through long-term foreign exchange Buy/Sell swap in terms of its extant Liquidity Management Framework,” RBI said in a statement.

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