India rupee ends down on equity outflows, cenbank curbs losses

By Jaspreet Kalra

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The Indian rupee closed slightly weaker on Thursday, pressured by persistent equity outflows and elevated U.S. Treasury yields.

However, likely U.S. dollar sales from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) capped the losses.

The rupee ended at 83.23, down 0.06% from its close at 83.18 in the previous session.

“At these levels, RBI presence is expected,” a foreign exchange trader at a private bank said, referring to the central bank’s persistent intervention to prevent the rupee from declining towards its record low of 83.29 to the dollar. The record low was hit in October 2022.

Equity-related outflows pressured the rupee during the session as foreign banks were seen buying dollars, likely for custodial clients, according to the forex trader.

Overseas investors have sold $1.19 billion worth of Indian equities so far in October.

The dollar index last quoted higher at 106.72.

Asian currencies weakened with the Korean won leading losses down by nearly 0.8%.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield was little changed in Asia at 4.95% but continued to hover near its highest level since 2007.

“The dollar retains the negatives of an overbought currency and is therefore at risk of some technical corrections, but the growth and rate fundamentals are building a stronger floor for the greenback,” ING Bank said in a note.

In the near-term, analysts expect the rupee to hold above its record low as the RBI is unlikely to relent in its defence of the local unit.

The rupee will “trade with a sideways bias,” till the RBI relents in its defence, Gaurang Somaiya, a foreign exchange research analyst at Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said.

Investors now await U.S. GDP and initial jobless claims data due Thursday for cues on how the world’s largest economy is faring.

(Reporting by Jaspreet Kalra; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala)