Indian rupee closes at 20-week low against US dollar

livemint-The Indian rupee on Tuesday closed at a 20-week low against the US dollar after foreign institutional investors (FIIs) continued to sell local equities tracking the fall in global markets. This was the third consecutive session when the rupee closed lower. Global markets are falling driven by the speculation that US president-elect Donald Trump’s spending plans will boost inflation and the size of the country’s debt while leading the Fed to pick up its pace of interest-rate increases. Indian rupee low “The Trump presidency is now being viewed by the markets as growth promoting. The massive infra spend promised by Trump, along with the promised tax cuts, is likely to be inflationary. Therefore, the markets are discounting steady rate hikes by the Fed starting December. This could be unfavourable for global markets,” said V K Vijayakumar, chief investment strategist at Geojit BNP Paribas. From Trump’s win on 8 November to 11 November (the last date for which such data is available), FIIs sold over Rs.4,320 crore provisionally in equities while the Sensex fell over 5% in this period. The rupee closed at 67.74 a dollar, a level last seen on 28 June, down 0.73% from its previous close of 67.25. The home currency opened at 67.58 against the US dollar and touched a low of 67.83. So far this year, it has shed 2.31%. India’s benchmark Sensex on Tuesday closed at 26,304.63 points, down 1.92% or 514.19 points from its previous close. So far this year, it has gained 0.72%. Bond yields too fell for the third straight session to close at a fresh seven-and -half year low after the government scrapped high denomination bank notes. The resultant rush to replace these old notes has led to a jump in deposits with Indian banks who are using this money to buy government bonds. The benchmark 10-year government bond yield closed at 6.534%— a level last seen on 25 May 2009, compared to Friday’s close of 6.726%. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions. The falling yields in India are in stark contrast to the rest of the world. Since 4 November, the US 10 year bond yield jumped 42 bps while German 10 year bond yield surged 17 basis points. FIIs have sold $277.80 million in debt and bought $6.42 billion in equity till date this year. Meanwhile, Asian currencies have strengthened—led by the Japanese yen and Korean won—as the dollar and treasury yield rally spurred by Trump’s US presidential election win stalls. The dollar index, which measures the US currency’s strength against major currencies, was trading at 99.846, down 0.26% from its previous close of 100.11.

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