Indian rupee posts biggest intraday gain in over a week

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A man inspects an Indian currency note at an exchange shop in Mumbai.

The Indian rupee closed higher on Wednesday marking its biggest single-day gain in more than one week spurred by dollar inflows, as improved risk appetite drove a rally in equities while the greenback posted losses.

The partially convertible rupee closed at 79.4450 in its best session since Aug. 5. The currency had ended at 79.6550 on Friday. India’s foreign exchange markets were shut on Monday and Tuesday.

Dollar credits received by Indian exporters following the long weekend, healthy risk mood and weaker oil prices helped rupee make up for last week’s underperformance, traders said.

Meanwhile, Indian equities jumped 0.7% on the back of a moderation in inflation rate and a decline in oil prices, closing higher for seventh session.

“After nine consecutive months of outflows, having witnessed nearly $3 billion in foreign inflows so far in August despite global geopolitical and economic turmoil has been an achievement and the biggest supporting factor for the rupee,” Amit Pabri, managing director at Mumbai-based consultancy CR Forex, said.

“As long as the USD/INR pair remains in a consolidated range of 78.80 to 80.10, buy on dips and sell on uptick remains an ideal strategy to follow for near-term exposures”.

Oil prices slumped to a six-month low to trade under $92 per barrel after a series of soft data from world’s major economies sparked concerns about a possible recession hitting crude demand.

Climbing oil prices this year had been one of the biggest factors weighing on the rupee as India is the third-biggest importer of the commodity with a substantial trade deficit.

Markets now await minutes of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting in July due later in the day to look for clues on the pace of further rate hikes by the US central bank.

The dollar remained tentative ahead of the release, notching slim gains in the European trading session.

Meanwhile, India’s 10-year government bond yield extended its fall to 7.1825% amid likely purchases from foreign banks after Goldman Sachs said it expects local bonds to be included in global bond indices in 2023.

Indian shares closed higher on Wednesday, as investors pinned their hopes on strong earnings data amid signs of cooling inflation, sending the S&P BSE Sensex above the key 60,000 level for the first time since April 5.

The NSE Nifty 50 index closed 0.67% higher at 17,944.25 while the Sensex ended 0.7% higher at 60,260.13. Both indexes clocked their highest closing level in four months.

A softening inflation has given rise to expectations the Reserve Bank of India might slow down pace and quantum of rate hikes in the coming months.

“Although the broader market is by no means cheap, it isn’t prohibitively expensive either. Therefore, those looking for fundamentally strong stocks at attractive valuations could still find pockets of undervaluation,” said Rahul Shah, Co-head of Research at Equitymaster.

Analysts believe domestic sentiment has been upbeat since strong corporate June-quarter results and with signs of cooling inflation, aided by softening commodity prices.



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