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Rupee weakens further by 4 paise on net borrowing, fiscal deficit woes

Post Union Budget 2018 announcements yesterday, rupee nosedived 44 paise to a fresh two-week low

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 


The rupee on Friday extended its losses for the second straight session, weakening by 4 paise at 64.06 a dollar as forex traders appeared cautious in view of upward revision of fiscal deficit target and the net borrowing for the current financial year in yesterday's Union Budget.

Besides, a massive rout in domestic equities hit forex market sentiments.

The rupee oscillated in the range of 63.72 and 64.20 during the day.

Post Budget announcements yesterday, the domestic had nosedived 44 paise to a fresh two-week low.

However, signs of strong macroeconomic fundamentals and abundant forex reserves predominantly helped the market to stabilise a bit.

Unveiling the Budget 2018-19, Minister on Thursday projected a higher fiscal deficit of 3.5 per cent of the GDP for 2017-18, as against the target of 3.2 per cent and also raised net borrowing for the current fiscal steeply to Rs 4.79 lakh crore as against the estimate of Rs 3.5 lakh crore.

Meanwhile, it was a black Friday for the Indian stock markets, which witnessed a bloodbath as panic-stricken traders and investors dumped shares across the board rattled by the budget proposal to re-introduce long-term capital gains tax on equities amid profit-taking due to lofty valuations.

Stamping its biggest single-day fall in two-and-a-half years - the flagship BSE-Sensex crashed 840 points to close at 35,066, while the Nifty took a knock by 256 points to end below the 10,800-mark.

Earlier in the day, the rupee opened substantially weak at 64.12 from Thursday's close of 64.02 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (forex) market on sustained demand for the dollar from importers and banks.

It tumbled to a fresh one-month low of 64.20 in mid- morning deals before staging a spirited recovery.

After hitting an intra-day high of 63.72, the home retreated sharply towards the tail-end trade due to renewed dollar pressure and settled with a modest 4 paise loss at 64.06.

For the week, the rupee depreciated by a sharp 49 paise against the dollar.

In the meantime, the ratings agency on Friday said high debt burden of the government constrains India's rating upgrade.

The RBI meanwhile fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 64.0781 and for the euro at 80.0335.

Globally, the US dollar pushed higher against other major currencies, as investors awaited the release of key US employment data due later in the day, while hawkish comments by the Federal Reserve this year continued to lend support.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback's value against a basket of six major currencies, was up at 88.69 in early trade.

In cross-currency trades, the rupee inched up against the pound sterling to settle at 91.12 per pound from 91.13 and remained firm against the Japanese yen to finish at 58.30 per yens from 58.35 earlier.

The local unit, however, fell sharply against the euro to close at 80.02 as compared to 79.58 yesterday.

On the energy front, crude prices rose for a third day after a survey showed strong compliance with output cuts by OPEC and others including Russia, offsetting concerns about surging US production.

Brent crude futures were trading higher at $69.84 a barrel in early Asian trading.

In forward market today, premium for dollar edged up due to mild pressure from corporates.

The benchmark six-month forward premium payable in July advanced to 143-145 paise from 142-144 paise and the far-forward January 2019 contract also moved up to 282-284 paise from 281-283 paise previously.

First Published: Fri, February 02 2018. 20:17 IST