India rupee ends weaker but fresh record low not in sight

By Jaspreet Kalra

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The Indian rupee depreciated on Monday, pressured by elevated U.S. Treasury yields and higher crude oil prices.

The rupee closed at 83.1450 against the U.S. dollar as compared with 82.93 in the previous session. Most Asian currencies fell, with the Thai bhat and offshore Chinese yuan leading losses.

The dollar index rose to 105.71, hovering near a six-month high. Brent crude oil futures rose 0.5% to $93.74.

The rupee’s gains that followed the announcement on Friday of India’s inclusion in the JPMorgan emerging market bond index have been erased.

However, the optimism around the bond index inclusion is likely to prevent the rupee from falling to a fresh record low in the near term, analysts said.

Global pressures all point to depreciation but “83.30 is likely to stay protected,” said Sajal Gupta, head of forex and commodities at Nuvama Wealth Management’s institutional desk.

The Reserve Bank of India will continue to defend the rupee, keeping it in a 82.80 and 83.30 band, Gupta added.

The rupee’s record low of 83.29 was hit in October 2022.

Last week, the unit hovered close to its record lows but recovered after the JPMorgan announcement.

The rupee’s outlook remains weak due to a worsening of the current account deficit and risk of equity outflows, economists at Nomura said.

On Monday, the rupee slipping below 83 spurred dollar buying from importers, including local oil companies, traders said.

For now, “83.18-83.20 are good levels to sell dollars,” a foreign exchange trader at a state-run bank said.

A hawkish bent from the U.S. Federal Reserve pushed the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield to 4.48% in Asia trading.

Investors are waiting to see whether India will be included the FTSE Emerging Markets Government Bond Index. The decision is due on Sept. 28.

(Reporting by Jaspret Kalra; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala)