India rupee to struggle as weak risk boosts safe-haven dollar

By Nimesh Vora

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The Indian rupee is expected to decline at open on Thursday as poor risk appetite fuelled demand for the safe-haven U.S. dollar.

Non-deliverable forwards indicate the rupee will open at around 83.35-83.36 to the dollar compared with 83.3250 in the previous session.

Brent crude plunged nearly 4% on Wednesday to fall below $75 per barrel, the lowest since late-June. Demand concerns have prompted a near 10% decline in Brent so far this month.

Meanwhile, Indian equities have seen inflows of more than $3 billion in December, data by National Securities Depository shows.

“Looks like yesterday’s bit of a relief (for the rupee) will not last. And this is despite another round of selloff on oil and the kind of flows we are seeing,” a forex trader at a bank said.

“If we are still talking of supports and resistances (on USD/INR), then that lies at 83.20 and 83.40.”

U.S. equities pulled back overnight and futures on the S&P 500 Index inched lower in Asia. Japan and Hong Kong led Asian shares lower while the Korean won and the Indonesian rupiah paced the decline in Asia FX.

The dollar index rose for the third straight day on Wednesday. This was despite soft U.S. economic data prompting a further fall in U.S. bond yields.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield dropped to 4.10% after U.S. private payrolls rose less than expected.

The data indicated “a deceleration in hiring momentum in the U.S.”, ANZ said in a note.

“The focus is now squarely on the November labour market report out later this week.”

The U.S. non-farm payrolls data, due on Friday, is expected to show 180,000 job additions in November, according to economists polled by Reuters.

It is probable that the market has revised downwards its expectations in wake of the soft private payrolls and job openings data, ANZ said.

KEY INDICATORS: ** One-month non-deliverable rupee forward at 83.42; onshore one-month forward premium at 5.75 paisa ** Dollar index at 104.10 ** Brent crude futures at $74.6 per barrel ** Ten-year U.S. note yield at 4.12% ** As per NSDL data, foreign investors bought a net $694.9 mln worth of Indian shares on Dec. 5

** NSDL data shows foreign investors bought a net $244.7 mln worth of Indian bonds on Dec. 5

(Reporting by Nimesh Vora; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala)