The Indian rupee breached 72-mark per dollar intraday on Thursday before paring some losses as high oil prices and weak trends in emerging economies’ currencies weighed in on foreign investor sentiments. A Reuters poll of 40 foreign exchange analysts showed that the rupee is likely to continue at around 70 for almost a year from now. The rupee value has fallen about 13% against the US dollar in 2018.
Going forward, once the rupee settles at a lower level, SBI research said in a note, it is likely that the foreign portfolio investors, who are missing from the picture, will return in hordes. “This is what history of Indian foreign exchange market says and sometimes the time period of appreciating rupee following a depreciating rupee could be even higher,” SBI research said.
While the fall in the rupee has been attributed largely to global factors, mainly, strengthening of the US dollar, there are concerns at the domestic front too. Many experts have expressed worry over widening trade deficit and current account deficit. Given the overall risks to the Indian currency, market watchers are speculating yet another repo rate hike by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The RBI had hiked rates both in June and August by 25 basis points each.
On one hand, the depreciating rupee is making the market nervous, on the other, some experts have said that it is going to boost India’s exports. However, SBI has a different take. “We believe the traditional view that weak exchange rates could dramatically boost exports growth is not entirely correct over the long term as India’s export basket has changed significantly from traditional products to more mechanized engineering goods over the years, thus making them more income elastic rather than price elastic,” it said.
India’s trade deficit widened to a five-year-high in July to $18.02 billion on high oil import bill and jump in gold purchase.