Rupee eyes yuan rally, uptick in US Treasury yields

By Nimesh Vora

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The Indian rupee is expected to open nearly unchanged on Thursday amid a rally in the Chinese yuan and an uptick in U.S. Treasury yields ahead of U.S. growth data.

Non-deliverable forwards indicate the rupee will open in the range of 83.12-83.14 to the U.S. dollar, compared with its previous closing of 83.1225.

Following the “bit of excitement”, USD/INR is now back to a narrow intraday range of 6-10 paisa, a foreign exchange trader at a bank said.

“We are back to buying at supports and selling at resistance, which are apart by only about 15 to 20 paisa.”

The rupee climbed to a four-month high of 82.77 on Monday, fuelling hopes that the currency might finally break from its long-held range. That, however, has not materialized in the wake of a well-supported dollar index, hedging by importers and equity outflows.

The offshore Chinese yuan hit the highest level in almost three weeks at 7.1405 to the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, after the People’s Bank of China announced a cut to bank reserves. The yuan has trimmed a part of its rally, last at 7.1602.

Chinese equities rose following the cut and continued their upward trend on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the earlier decline in 10-year U.S. Treasury yield was mitigated on Wednesday and it edged up following a robust reading of U.S. business activity.

The “firmer-than-expected” data is a sign that the economy is on track for a soft-landing, ANZ said in a note.

The odds of Federal Reserve rate cut at the March meeting were down to 40% following the data.

Attention now turns to the first reading of U.S. gross domestic product for 2023 due Thursday, and the key Personal Consumption Expenditures index (PCE) print on Friday.

KEY INDICATORS: ** One-month non-deliverable rupee forward at 83.21; onshore one-month forward premium at 8.50 paisa ** Dollar index at 103.32 ** Brent crude futures up 0.1% at $80.1 per barrel ** Ten-year U.S. note yield at 4.1850% ** As per NSDL data, foreign investors sold a net $325.8mln worth of Indian shares on Jan. 23

** NSDL data shows foreign investors bought a net $90.1mln worth of Indian bonds on Jan. 23

(Reporting by Nimesh Vora; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil)