Mumbai: The rupee fell on Friday, posting its longest weekly losing streak since the 2008 global financial crisis, after data showing a contraction in factory output for March added to worries about the country’s economic outlook.
The rupee remains within sight of a record low of 54.30 against the dollar hit in December, having fallen for six consecutive weeks, its longest losing streak since a string of 11 weekly losses in late 2008.
Worries about India’s fiscal challenges and its growth outlook are combining with concerns about foreign outflows, resulting in a toxic mix.
The central bank has tried to stem the falls with frequent interventions -- though no definitive signs of dollar selling emerged on Friday -- and measures such as Thursday’s order for exporters to convert half of their forex holdings into rupees.
However, traders do not think the Reserve Bank of India will be successful for long. Markets only felt a muted impact after a deputy governor at the central bank said it will continue to target volatility in currencies and appeared to open the door for potential rate cuts.
“Foreigners are looking at the trade deficit rather than the possibility of rate cuts. We see no major appreciation for the rupee,” said Paresh Nayar, head of fixed income and forex trading at First Rand Bank in Mumbai.
The rupee ended at 53.63/64 to the dollar, after it had closed at 53.44/45 on Thursday. It fell 0.3% for the week.
Nayar expects the rupee to trade in 52.50-54 range to the dollar in the near term, given the prospect of more central bank action.
Factory data contracted 3.5% in March from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday. The data is notoriously volatile, but is an important print for economic activity.
Also weighing on the rupee on Friday was the continued fall in stocks, which notched their fourth consecutive daily loss.
The one-month offshore non-deliverable forward contracts were at 53.94.
In the currency futures market, the most-traded near-month dollar-rupee contracts on the National Stock Exchange, the MCX-SX and the United Stock Exchange all ended around 53.80 on a total volume of $4.32 billion.