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RBI may hike FII investment in G-secs by $ 5 billion post-budget

Currently, overseas investors have exhausted their investment limit of $ 30 billion in government securities

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

The Reserve Bank is likely to increase the investment limit for foreign portfolio investors in government securities by $ 5 billion, once the is announced, says a report.

Currently, overseas investors have exhausted their investment limit of $ 30 billion in government securities. Out of this total, $ 5 billion is on tap investment..

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"We expect a limited $ 5 billion hike after the This will likely include $ 1.5 billion that will come in after FPIs have been allowed to re-invest coupons even if their investment limit - currently at $ 30 billion-is hit," Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a report.

Despite strong demand for government securities, the RBI will likely continue to err on the side of caution until markets price in the Fed rate hikes which are expected from September, the report said.

BofA-ML expects the Reserve Bank to hold the rupee at 60-65 levels, unless the US currency appreciates and if the rupee regains 60-62 levels, then RBI will buy dollars to keep the rupee under check.

"If the rupee trades in 63-64 level, RBI will likely offer token defence selling, say, $ 500 million-$ 1 billion, as it did last month. The RBI should ideally want to hold Governor Raghuram Rajan's preferred level of 60-62," the report said.

According to the latest RBI data the apex bank sold $ 9.946 billion worth of dollars while it purchased $ 13.027 billion in November 2014.

The RBI has been net purchaser of dollars for the most part of the current fiscal. The report said in case the rupee touches 65 level against the dollar, there will be a full-scale forex intervention of around $ 15 billion by the central bank.

BofA-ML said RBI would continue to recoup forex reserves to fight possible contagion when the Fed raises rates in September.

"If oil persists at $ 50 per barrel levels, the RBI should be able to take import cover to 10 months by March 2016, above the critical 8-month import cover needed for the rupee stability," the report said.

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First Published: Sun, February 08 2015. 12:20 IST