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Rupee breaches 82/$1 for first time as Fed officials back rate hike view

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The weakened to a new low against the on Friday as Federal Reserve officials in the US outlined a large quantum of rate hikes going ahead, leading to a stronger greenback globally.

The rupee, which weakened past the 82 per dollar mark for the first time, was at 82.35 per dollar at 11:35 am IST. Its previous low was 81.95 per dollar.

The domestic currency, which has weakened 9.7 per cent versus the in 2022, had settled at 81.89 on Thursday.

The index, which measures the greenback against six major currencies, was last at 112.31 versus 111.35 at 3:30 pm IST on Thursday. On Thursday, Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans said that the federal funds target rate is likely to rise to 4.50-4.75 per cent by the spring of 2023.

Following 300 bps of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve since March 2022, the federal funds target rate is currently at 3-3.25 per cent. Higher US interest rates lead to a stronger dollar and erode the appeal of emerging market currencies such as the . A 6 per cent rise in Brent crude prices so far this week following a reduction in output by the OPEC also dragged the lower, dealers said.

“Rupee opens at a life time low of 82.21 with dollar index above 112 on the expectation that the Fed will continue on its aggressive tightening path to tame inflation gaining support from a strong US jobs data expected today,” said Ritesh Bhansali, vice-president, Mecklai Financial Services.

“U.S. non-farm payrolls are expected to increase to 275k in September, compared to 315k in August, and unemployment is predicted to be steady at 3.7%. Oil prices rose as OPEC+ agree to cut production by 2 million barrels per day (bpd), the largest reduction since 2020,” he said.

Advisors at CR Forex see the rupee in a band of 81.80-82.50 per dollar in coming days before breaking towards the 83 levels.

Dealers said that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is intervening in the market through dollar sales around the 82.30-82.35 per dollar mark in order to rein in the volatility in the rupee. However, the central bank is not seen selling dollars aggressively, given the scale of dollar’s global strength.

As on September 23, the RBI’s foreign exchange reserves were at a two-year low of $537.52 billion. The reserves were at $631.53 billion as on February 25, which was when Russia invaded Ukraine.


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