Rupee weakens; policy watched for direction

Rupee weakens; policy watched for direction

Mumbai: The rupee fell on Tuesday tracking a shaky start in local shares and a firmer dollar overseas, and traders awaited the central bank’s monetary policy for direction.

At 10:10am, the partially convertible rupee was at 44.4150/4175 per dollar, weaker than 44.33/34 at close on Monday.

The central bank is widely expected to lift key rates by 25 basis points each, and there is a possibility of a 50-point increase.

“A 25 basis points hike is factored in but if there is a 50 basis points increase then the rupee may appreciate by 10-15 paise on expectation of more portfolio flows to debt," said a senior trader with a private bank.

Dealers forecast a 44.30-44.50 range for the rupee.

Most Asian currencies were weaker than the US dollar. See for a snapshot.

The index of the dollar against six major currencies was up 0.17% at 73.076 points, and higher than 72.966 at the end of local forex trade on Monday.

Indian shares briefly turned positive in choppy trade on Tuesday morning, after declining in the six previous sessions.

The one-month onshore forward premium was steady at 27.50 points, the three-month was at 81.75 points up from 81.50 and the one-year was at 322.25 points, up from 318 points.

The one-month offshore non-deliverable forward contracts were quoted at 44.61, weaker than the onshore spot rate.

In the currency futures market , the most traded near-month dollar-rupee contracts on the National Stock Exchange, MCX-SX and the United Stock Exchange were all at 44.6450 with total volume at $1.18 billion.