Mumbai: The rupee on Thursday strengthened to a two-week high against the US dollar, tracking gains in the Asian currency markets after the US Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged. The continued buying interest from foreign institutional investors (FIIs) in the local equity and bond markets also helped the currency.
The rupee closed at 66.67 per dollar—a level last seen on 8 September—up 0.5%, its highest gain since 25 May, from its previous close of 67.02. The rupee opened at 66.87 per dollar and touched a high of 66.67, a level last seen on 9 September.
Asian currencies closed higher after the Fed left interest rates unchanged but strongly signalled it could still tighten the monetary policy by the end of this year as the labour market improves further. Fed chair Janet Yellen, speaking after the central bank’s latest policy statement, said US growth was looking stronger and a rate hike would be needed to keep the economy from overheating and fuelling high inflation, Reuters reported.
The South Korean won was up 1.55%, Malaysian ringgit 0.79%, Indonesian rupiah 0.48%, Philippines peso 0.12%, Thai baht 0.07% and Taiwanese dollar 0.07%. However, the Japanese yen was down 0.39%, Chinese offshore 0.12% and Singapore dollar 0.1%.
India’s benchmark Sensex index rose 265.71 points, or 0.93%, to close at 28,773.13. So far this year, it has gained 10.17%.
From 2-21 September, FIIs bought $704.24 million in equity and $710.71 million in debt.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the names of three outside experts as members of the Monetary Policy Committee that will include Reserve Bank of India officials and decide on the policy rates of the central bank. The experts are Chetan Ghate, professor at Indian Statistical Institute; Pami Dua, director at Delhi School of Economics; and Ravindra Dholakia, professor at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Mint reported.
India posted a current account deficit (CAD) of $277 million, or 0.1% of the gross domestic product, in the April-June quarter—same as in the preceding quarter—belying expectations of a surplus, data released by RBI showed on Wednesday.
The 10-year bond yield closed at 6.81%, a level last seen on 10 June 2009, compared with its Wednesday’s close of 6.85%. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.
The rupee is down 0.9% till date this year, while FIIs have bought $6.76 billion in equity and sold $617.80 million in debt markets.
The dollar index, which measures the US currency’s strength against major currencies, was trading at 95.256, down 0.43% from its previous close of 95.66.