Rupee stands pat as likely RBI help counters drop in Asian peers

By Jaspreet Kalra

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The Indian rupee was little changed on Monday, aided by likely intervention from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), even as its Asian peers slipped amid an uptick in U.S. Treasury yields.

The rupee was at 83.3725 against the U.S. dollar as of 10:20 a.m. IST, barely changed from its close at 83.3850 in the previous session.

The RBI likely sold U.S. dollars to cap further depreciation in the rupee, five traders said. The central bank is “not letting (USD/INR) move above 83.40,” a foreign exchange trader at a foreign bank said.

The rupee has hovered between 83.01 and 83.40 since hitting its record low of 83.42 on Nov. 10.

The local unit is likely to see “steady depreciation,” but a sharp rise will be tough amid central bank intervention, Dilip Parmar, a foreign exchange research analyst at HDFC Securities said.

The dollar index last quoted at 104 while Asian currencies weakened between 0.2% to 0.9%. The 10-year U.S. treasury yield was steady in Asia hours after rising to 4.24% on Friday following stronger-than-expected U.S. labour market data.

U.S. job growth accelerated in November and the unemployment rate declined to 3.7% against expectations that it would hold steady at 3.9%, according to a Reuters poll.

The data also prompted investors to temper bets on how soon the U.S. Federal Reserve would start easing policy rates.

Key central banks like the Fed, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of England will deliver policy decisions this week. India and the United States will also report inflation data.

Economists estimate that U.S. core inflation rose to 0.3% month-on-month in November, up from October’s 0.2%.

India’s retail inflation is expected to rise to 5.70% year-on-year in November, up from 4.87% in October, due to higher food prices, a Reuters poll showed.

(Reporting by Jaspreet Kalra; Editing by Janane Venkatraman)