The rupee rose to a new five-month high of Rs 52.86 to a dollar on Friday. The currency has gained almost five per cent in September, the highest against other Asian currencies. This was a consecutive monthly gain for the rupee.
On Friday, it traded in the range of Rs 52.50-52.89 against the dollar before closing with a 0.3 per cent gain over yesterday. It closed the week with a 1.1 per cent appreciation.
“There is talk of foreign institutional investment inflow and this had helped the rupee. But more than that, I think it is the sentiment which is driving it,” said Parthasarathi Mukherjee, president, treasury and international banking, Axis Bank. He added the markets were expecting these levels after the recent growth-supportive measures of the government.
There were foreign fund inflows worth Rs 1,230 crore in equity markets on Friday, showed data from the BSE.
Its benchmark index, the Sensex, closed one per cent higher and the National Stock Exchange’s Nifty counterpart closed 0.95 per cent higher than the previous close. The rupee also tracked gains in the euro, which was trading at $1.29.
Deutsche Bank expects the rupee to stabilise at Rs 52-53 a dollar. “Any exceptionally sharp appreciation beyond this will likely be confronted with some intervention from the Reserve Bank of India, in its aim to strengthen the foreign exchange reserves position, which at the current level can cover six months’ worth of imports,” said Kaushik Das, economist at Deutsche Bank.
RBI sold $21 billion worth of dollars in the foreign exchange spot market between September 2011 and July 2012. India’s foreign exchange reserves were at $294 bn as on September 21, lower by $18 bn over a year.
“The rupee might touch 50 to a dollar by December-end on foreign fund inflows. Beyond this, the gains might be capped by repayments of external commercial borrowing, oil payments and the government’s debt repayment,” said Sandeep Gonsalves, foreign exchange consultant and dealer at Mecklai & Mecklai.