The rupee on Friday gained 98 paise against the dollar to close at 80.82, a level last seen on September 21, after the lower-than-expected US inflation data for October raised hopes that the Federal Reserve痴 pace of interest rate hikes will slow down.
In intra-day trade, the Indian currency jumped 1.49%, its biggest gains since December 18, 2018, and closed 1.21% higher, posting the maximum gain since March 26, 2020.
US consumer inflation for October came in at 7.7%, down from 8.2% in September, easing concerns that the Fed痴 tightening could continue for a prolonged period. The US dollar slipped by over 2% overnight and lost some more value on Friday, hovering around the 107-mark against a basket of six currencies. Most Asian currencies on Friday gained value against the dollar.
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Bhaskar Panda, EVP, overseas treasury, HDFC Bank, cautioned the appreciation in the rupee did not mean it was the end of the story. We need to be very careful on how we position ourselves at this time, since the inflation numbers, even if they have come off, are nonetheless high ,Panda observed, pointing out that fundamentally little else has changed.
Experts believe the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may use the stronger levels of the rupee to accumulate dollars and build up reserves. The central bank was buying dollars at 78.5 levels, dealers said, adding that the RBI might wait a while for lower levels. Exporters are understood to have started offloading dollars, and a further gain to around 80 levels cannot be ruled out, they said.
Meanwhile, the sentiment in the bond markets was positive, with yields falling five bps to hit a two-week low of 7.308% as US treasury slipped to 3.8125%, a level last seen on October 5. Dealers are, however, cautious as the RBI is expected to raise the repo rate at its December meeting.