Rupee: Rupee closes at new low on Gaza spillover, crude flare-up worries

Rupee: Rupee closes at new low on Gaza spillover, crude flare-up worries

Mumbai: Flames leaping out from the war in West Asia theatre appeared to singe the Indian currency Monday, sending the rupee to a new closing low against the US dollar that’s advancing against other monetary units amid concerns over the conflict’s duration .

The rupee settled at 83.28 per US dollar, a fresh closing low. The closing level was the same as the intraday low on Monday, just shy of the all-time intraday low of 83.29, a level seen in October 2022. On Friday, the rupee had closed at 83.26. In 2023, the rupee has shed 0.7% versus the dollar.

“There is nervousness in the market because there is a possibility of an escalation of the crisis which could spread to Saudi Arabia and Iran as well,” Ritesh Bhansali, vice-president at Mecklai Financial Services said.

“The Indian and Chinese central banks have been preventing excessive volatility in their respective currencies. This can continue until the time we see a very extreme reaction – for instance if the DXY (dollar index) goes to 109 or 110,” he said.

HDFC Securities research analyst Dilip Parmar predicted a range of 83.10-83.50/$1 over the near term. According to CR Forex Advisors, the upcoming maturity of a $5-billion foreign exchange sell-buy swap by the Reserve bank of India (RBI) on October 23 had also exerted pressure on the rupee as some banks felt that the central bank may not roll over the swap, thus potentially creating a dollar shortage. “We see increasing external sector risks from the intensification of geopolitical conflicts and the US policy rates staying higher for longer, aiding the dollar strength” said Upasna Bharadwaj, chief economist, Kotak Mahindra Bank.

FII Exits and Festive Demand
A pick-up in festive demand could pose pressure on the rupee amid rising international raw material prices, analysts said. Amid slowing portfolio flows, the deficit funding could be challenged, with some economists expecting the rupee to weaken further in the near term to 84/$1.

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