The Indian rupee is likely to weaken after foreign inflows that have helped it appreciate at the start of the year begin to ebb in coming months, a senior official at the nation’s second-largest private sector lender said.
“INR will appreciate short term but have no choice but to depreciate long term,” B. Prasanna, group head for global markets sales, trading and research at ICICI Bank Ltd. said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Wednesday. “Trade deficit and current account deficit are likely to increase going ahead as there has been substantially high growth in India. Dollar strength is there because of monetary policy divergence, and high oil prices will also favor INR depreciation in the longer term.”
Prasanna identified inflows from large Indian companies issuing dollar bonds as well as foreign investors buying Indian equities as factors that were boosting the rupee at the start of the year. The currency is up 0.7% in 2022, the most among emerging market Asian peers. Reliance Industries Ltd. raised $4 billion in dollar bonds, while global investors have bought $391 million of local stocks so far in January, according to CDSL data.
The central bank is likely to intervene to stem the recent run of the rupee, according to Prasanna. “They would look at the export competitiveness argument and the real effective exchange rate, where INR is still overvalued,” he said.
Here are more comments from Prasanna:
- Supporting growth will continue to be an important narrative for the RBI but at the same time they are balancing it out with concerns on inflation as high frequency indicators have been positive, and GDP growth could hit 8-8.5% this year
- Omicron could prompt India to dial back plans of aggressive fiscal consolidation in the February budget; expect fiscal deficit target of 6.3% and government to be broadly growth supportive next year as well –Bloomberg