The rupee on Wednesday crashed to new lows hitting 73.4163 against the greenback in intra-day trade before staging a mild recovery to close at 73.34. As importers rushed to cover, the premium on three-month forward contracts jumped three basis points (bps) over Monday’s close to around 4.5%. On August 1, the premium on the forward contract was around 4.407%. The pressure on the currency has been exacerbated by elevated prices of crude oil, which are hovering around the $85-mark and a strengthening dollar.
On Wednesday, the dollex was trading at 95.58; in early August the dollex was ruling at around 94.66. The dollar has been strengthening given the US Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates and has declared its intention to raise them further. MV Srinivasan, vice-president, Mecklai financial services, said that the main reason of the rupee depreciation is the elevated crude oil prices around $85/barrel, a near four-year high.
In addition, a stronger dollar, euro and pound have fuelled the depreciation. “A dollar window for the oil marketing companies (OMCs) will bring immediate relief and will reduce the dollar demand but it is crucial to know whether the OMCs are willing to bear the cost of the swaps. The recent measures by the Reserve Bank of India may bring long term relief but immediately there seems to be no correction in the currency. We are hopeful that the RBI announces certain measures,” Srinivasan noted. The currency has lost 7% since August 1 and around 13% since January. In the off-shore markets, the three-month non-deliverable forwards (NDF) were ruling at around 74.49/$ on Wednesday almost flat over Tuesday’s close.
On August 1, the NDF rates were in the region of 69.04/$. The rupee had retreated during the day’s trade primarily because of speculation the central government and the RBI had agreed on a special dollar window for the OMCs. However, the rumours were later denied by the authorities following which the rupee continued on the downside, experts said. The sentiment in the NDF markets coupled with a negative view on rupee assets was the reason behind the rupee’s massive fall to the all-time low of 73.3412/$ on October 3, currency dealers said.
The mounting tension of possible US sanctions on the oil supply from Iran has left prices of crude oil elevated and impacted all the emerging market currencies, India being no exception. The bond yields closed the trading session at 8.11%. Dealers said the yield will continue to rise as long as the currency is on a depreciating path. Crude oil prices remain elevated at $85 levels/barrel, up nearly 18% since August 1.