The rupee appreciated by 26 paise to 75.87 against the US dollar in early trade on Tuesday, tracking positive opening in domestic equities, with the forex markets re-opening after the Mahavir Jayanti holiday on Monday as per new timings announced by RBI.
The Reserve Bank of India had, on Friday, announced changes in timings for currency and debt markets with effect from Tuesday i.e. April 7, in view of the lockdown following the outbreak of coronavirus. As per the modified timings, the currency and debt markets will open at 10:00 am and close at 2:00 pm till April 17. The currency and debt markets were earlier operational between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. The forex market kicked off at 10 am this morning, in line with the new timings.
Forex traders said higher opening in domestic equities supported the local unit, while sustained foreign fund outflows and concerns over coronavirus outbreak weighed on the local unit.
At the interbank foreign exchange the rupee opened at 75.92, then gained ground and touched 75.87, registering a rise of 26 paise over its previous close.
On Friday, rupee had settled at 76.13 against the US dollar.
Mr. Abhishek Goenka, Founder & CEO, IFA Global, said, “US jobs data is in focus today after jobless claims rose to record highs last week. US jobless claims doubled from last week to a record of 6.65mn. The focus today will be on the March payroll data due today. The headline number is expected to come in at -100k. The unemployment rate in the US could tick to as high as 10 per cent by April or May. After the US Feds aggressive rate cut to 0 per cent and commitment to unlimited bond buying, the US has become a funding currency. For example, people earlier used to borrow in EUR and pay the EURUSD basis and invest in USD. Now it is the other way around, borrowing in USD, receiving the EURUSD basis and investing in Euro gives a positive yield.”
“The government not hiking the FPI limit in individual stocks to the respective sectoral FDI caps resulted in India’s weight staying the same in the MSCI EM index. The market was expecting the government to increase the limits from 1st April and this could have resulted in passive flows to the tune of USD 2.5 billion. The stock market reacted negatively to this and shed 4 per cent on Wednesday. USDINR also traded higher in NDF on account of the same, Asian currencies are stronger against the US Dollar. Asian equities are trading flat. The Rupee is likely to underperform and open around 76. Likely range for today 75.80-76.30, ” he added.
Traders said investor sentiments remain fragile amid concerns over the impact of coronavirus outbreak on the domestic and global economy.
The number of deaths around the world linked to the new coronavirus has crossed over 74,000. In India, over 4,400 coronavirus cases have been reported so far.
Meanwhile, domestic bourses opened on a positive note on Tuesday with benchmark indices Sensex trading 1127.33 points higher at 28,718.28 and Nifty up by 344.95 points at 8,428.75.
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net sellers in the capital market, as they sold equity shares worth Rs 1,960.97 crore on Friday, according to provisional exchange data.
Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 2.90 per cent to USD 34.01 per barrel.
Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against the basket of six currencies was trading 0.13 per cent down at 100.55.